Eagle thoughts on sactions

Eagle staff shares their thoughts on recent sanctions for athletes who attended a party
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 6:44pm

To quote Shakespeare, something is wrong in Denmark. On Oct. 26, an off-campus party was held in which some members of the basketball, baseball and cheer squad attended. Those in attendance agree there was alcohol consumed by “some” of the team members.

By Monday morning, “some” of the basketball and baseball team members who were at the party were called into their respective coaches’ offices and given sanctions. None of cheerleaders in attendance were given sanctions.

According to Athletic Director Dave Paur, all athletes sign an Athletic Department Drug Testing Program document that states they “attended a mandatory meeting in which the content of the ‘College of Eastern Utah Athletic Department Drug Testing Program’ was reviewed and explained to me, as required by the policy. I understand that a complete copy of the program is available in the athletic office for my review at any time. This declaration will be kept on file by the athletic department as evidence of your attendance and having participated in a review of the Drug Testing Policy.”

While most of the 13-page policy deals with illegal drug use, we found a statement, “The CEU Department of Athletics is concerned about the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. This includes the misuse of prescription and over the counter drugs, the use of androgenic anabolic steroids, the use of alcohol … The Department of Athletics is also concerned about overuse or abuse of alcohol.

The appeal process of the document states “student athletes of legal age are not exempt from this policy and any student athletic causing embarrassment to the institution due to direct or indirect involvement with alcohol or drugs may be subject to sanctions equivalent to a positive drug test as outlined within this policy.”

None of the student athletes in attendance were screened for alcohol.

According to Appendix A of the policy, first time offenders for alcohol abuse is they would forfeit 10 percent of their games and second time offenders would forfeit 33 percent of their games. The third offense would be losing one year of playing time with the fourth offense taking away their eligibility.

According to the policy, the program is administered by the Substance Abuse Committee, which did not meet with the athletes until one week later. Some of the baseball players had been kicked off the team or had their scholarships revoked a week earlier so they did not bother with attending the proceedings. They had already been kicked of the team and were leaving campus and looking elsewhere to play their sport.

Baseball player Denver Hansen, is puzzled over the sanctions. “Some players were told they were seen at the party and were not. Other players were there and were never called in to meet with a coach. Apparently I was seen there, but in reality, I was at home watching my little brother’s quarter-finals football game in my hometown of Kamas, Utah. Everyone in town saw me.”

In a similar situation at Trinidad State Junior College in 2011, a group of softball players got busted for having alcohol on campus in their dorm. One of them had not been drinking, when she requested to be breathalyzed. She was declined because it didn’t matter whether or not she had been drinking because she was on campus with alcohol.

After this incident, all players involved signed a contract written by their coach stating that if they were busted again they would be kicked off the team. The athletes ended up getting caught again and kicked off the team. They wrote an appeal to their athletic director who then overrode the decision of the coach because the rules and punishments of the athletic department as a whole trump that of the coach. Since then the athletic policies and code of conduct have had to be updated and changed because they were out of date.

The Eagle staff does not condone drinking, but does think the official drug and alcohol policies should be followed by all of the athletic programs. Why one program follows the policy and another program ignores it is inherently wrong.

Filed under: viewpoints