Athletic department implements stricter drug policy

Sept. 9, 2005, midnight | By Anna Coughlan | 15 years, 4 months ago

Meeting held to discuss consequences of violating drug and residency rules

Blair athletes caught using illegal substances will be suspended from athletic activities for the rest of the school year as part of a new drug policy implemented by the Blair Athletic Department. If caught a second time, the athlete will be expelled from athletic participation for the remainder of his or her time at Blair.

Administrators discussed the policy and new residency precautions at a meeting for fall athletes on Aug. 30. The new drug regulations were introduced this year in order to close loopholes in the old policy, according to athletic director Dale Miller. Under the old rules, student athletes found using tobacco, alcohol or other drugs were suspended from participation for either 45 days or until the end of their season, whichever was longer. Some athletes in past years were caught before or after their sport was in season, and would escape any consequences enforced by the athletic department.

Under the old policy, school administrators had the opportunity to discipline athletes independently from the athletic department. They decided this year that it would be more effective to have specific consequences to encompass all cases, according to Miller.

"The policy was changed because the administration felt it was too vague," said Miller. He cited past incidents during which athletes were caught intoxicated at a football game and at Homecoming.

Miller and Principal Phillip Gainous emphasized that the new regulations were not flexible and that violations were acute offenses. "We're really serious about this," said Gainous. "We have really ratcheted up the consequences of involvement in illegal substances."

Assistant Principal and administrator for athletics James Short said he realized that students could view the policy as being too harsh. However, the athletic department's top priority is maintaining athletes' safety and well-being.

"Winning is not worth jeopardizing your health," Gainous told athletes at the meeting. "We want you to represent Blair and your family in a healthy fashion."

The athletic department also addressed new residency safety measures at the meeting. The Montgomery County Athletic Department has implemented extra precautions this year to ensure that athletes legally belong to their respective schools. In past years, students in Montgomery County had moved out of their school's district and had failed to inform their school, yet had continued to play on a school athletic team. The Springbrook High School football team forfeited the season last year when an athlete violated the residency rules.

To prevent unintended violations, all Montgomery County schools have included a residency verification section in the athletic paperwork. Student athletes who move out of their school's district must obtain an official transfer and then apply for a waiver to continue playing for their team, according to Montgomery County Athletic Director William Beattie.

At the meeting, fitness expert Rob McMahon also discussed the negative affects of using steroids. "We need to make sure our kids are informed about steroids," Short said.

No steroid incidents have been reported at Blair, according to Miller. However, both Miller and Short emphasized that Blair athletes might be influenced by the reports of alleged steroid use in professional sports.

McMahon asserted at the meeting that athletes could be pressured to perform at higher levels, but he stressed that using steroids constitutes cheating, decreases skill and harms the body. Athletes who use steroids can develop attributes of the opposite gender, acne and bad breath, according to McMahon. "You should be scared that you're putting dangerous drugs inside your body," he warned athletes.

McMahon also stated that 90 percent of dietary supplements do not work and that drug companies are after young people's money. To achieve a desired fitness level, athletes must take care to drink water and eat healthily, he said.

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Anna Coughlan. Anna is a CAP junior who can't believe she's an upperclassman already. She likes to run Blair cross-country and track, do yoga, play soccer, and chill with fun-loving people. Anna is a big movie fan and loves the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Star … More »

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