Being a college athlete is everything that you dreamed it would be: Challenging, exciting and fun. There’s just one thing: Your college or university requires that its teams submit to random drug tests. As a result, you are constantly panicked about whether you might be kicked off your team—and kicked out of school.
Drug testing: The basics
Every state in the country allows its secondary education institutions to perform randomly timed drug tests on randomly selected athletes. This means that you will not have any idea when a drug test is coming, or who will be chosen for it.
Generally, a drug test involves providing a small sample of urine in a sanitized up. The sample is then examined in a lab for any evidence of illegal drugs or other controlled substances. In particular, athletics departments are testing whether any athletes are using a performance-enhancing substance. And students who test positive can be in for big trouble.
The consequences of failing a drug test are far-reaching.
Most colleges and universities follow drug-testing guidelines set forth by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). And the NCAA has very strict rules for athletes who use drugs. Any college athlete who tests positive for a street drug is forbidden from competing for half of the season. And that’s only for a first offense: A second offense revokes your eligibility for an entire year. Testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance can get you sidelined for your entire college career.
Not a single college or university in Virginia looks kindly on athletes who use street drugs or try to cheat by using performance-enhancing substances. Every school has a unique set of disciplinary policies; the penalties that student athletes may face will vary depend on their college’s internal rules. These may include academic probation, suspension, or even expulsion.
The consequences of failing a drug test can last much longer than college. The state can impose harsh criminal penalties on people who use illegal drugs—even if they are highly-regarded athletes. In our state, being convicted of a drug-related crime can involve expensive fines, mandatory drug and alcohol counseling and sometimes jail time.