Oregon will start administering random drug testing of all athletes
EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon is implementing random drug testing of all its athletes, following a media report earlier this year that estimated from 40 to 60 percent of the football team smoked marijuana.
Oregon's previous drug policy allowed for testing when there was reasonable suspicion. A recent decision by the general counsel gives temporary permission for random testing effective this month. The policy still faces a public hearing in early October.
ESPN The Magazine's April report was based on interviews with 19 current or former Oregon players and officials, and it accompanied a larger piece that looked at marijuana use among college football players nationwide.
In July, Oregon's athletic department proposed the changes to strengthen its drug policy. Under it, student-athletes will be subject to random tests year-round, even in the summer. A number system will identify athletes for testing.
The random tests have not begun, according to university officials.
Oregon has not changed its penalties for positive tests.
For illicit drugs, athletes receive counseling and education after a first positive test. A second results in a ''behavior modification contract'' between the student and the coach. Athletes are ineligible for half of a season following a third failed test, and will be dismissed from the team and lose their scholarship for the fourth.
For performance-enhancing drugs like steroids, athletes face suspension after the first positive test and dismissal after the second.