College players smoke a lot of pot. So what?

So college players smoke a lot of pot. In other news, water is wet and the sky is blue.

We're wringing our hands over something that in modern society is common, largely accepted and -- at least in this view -- less dangerous than alcohol. You know how I know? The NCAA only tests for marijuana during championships. Why? They'll never say this but the hippie lettuce isn't performance-enhancing.

It's one thing for Dock Ellis to throw a no-hitter on LSD. It's another to run for 100 yards against the Alabama D while high on tree.

My first reaction last week to seeing that 40-60 percent of Oregon players smoked pot was …

Yeah, and …?

It was a fine story and all that, but let's be real. We're talking about Eugene. Let's just say the place isn't exactly Yosemite when it comes to scenery. Bored? Break out some weed. Seems almost … logical.

Kidding, but not much. College kids smoke pot on every campus. OK, maybe not Baylor, but they had to put up with all that bad football somehow before that RG3 arrived. To me, 40-60 percent isn't a huge ratio. I was surprised it wasn't higher.

From 2009-2010 marijuana positives increased 2 ½ times according to the NCAA. In the latest NCAA survey (2009) almost a quarter of respondents had tried the stuff in the last year. I'm always been entertained by those usage surveys. First of all, you're assuming that everyone is being truthful. Even in anonymity, I don't know if I'd tell anyone in authority I had tried pot.

Plus, if a quarter of all players are admitting they've tried it, there must be another quarter who are too stoned to respond.

Once again, kidding. But again, not much. I recently asked a major-college trainer whether he was surprised about the Oregon numbers.

“It mimics society,” he said. “That's [marijuana] the new alcohol. When I was growing up, in college you didn't smoke, you went out and got drunk. Now they sit around and smoke.”

The trainer made my point for me. It's a point I've written about in this space from time to time. In terms of college consumption, marijuana is the new beer. A lot of us drank beer in college. Not all of us in my generation smoked pot. I believe that ratio has probably shifted.

The TCU scandal was upsetting because players were allegedly dealing. Students allegedly dealing prescription drugs. That bothers me. The fact that anyone in that scandal may have puffed on a fatty, well, it's just assumed.

Reading about a kid testing positive for the green leafy substance just doesn't bother me that much. The stupidity is getting caught. Sure, you can argue that it's illegal but so is a fake ID. Besides, there are a lot of people who believe pot should be as legal as Budweiser.

This stuff doesn't bother me because of that subtle message the NCAA is sending: Marijuana isn't important enough to assume it helps you hit home runs or an opposing linebacker. There is little you can do on pot to help your game, unless your game is sitting around laughing, falling down and eating Bugles.


Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
 
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