Pubdate: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 Source: USA Today (US) Copyright: 2011 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc Contact: http://mapinc.org/url/625HdBMl Website: http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/index.htm Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/466 Author: Jack Carey NCAA DRUG TESTING SHOWS INCREASE IN POT USE The number of college athletes testing positive for marijuana at postseason events nearly tripled in the NCAA's most recent analysis. Though the association says it's too early to draw conclusions from the finding, one anti-doping official says it raises concern. The number of positive marijuana tests across all three divisions increased from 28 in 2008-09 to 71 in 2009-10. Although the positives represent less than 3% of the total samples tested by the NCAA, the increase worries Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which is the national anti-doping organization for the Olympic movement. Tygart said with medical marijuana use on the rise and increased calls in some states for legalization of the drug, more positive tests for athletes are not surprising. "It's a fear we've had that as marijuana and even some performance-enhancing drugs become more socially acceptable that athletes will think it might be acceptable within sports," he said. "Sports have a totally different set of rules in place to provide a level, healthy, safe environment for athletes. Even if the use was not criminal or was for medicinal purposes, sports are unique and are supposed to present human competition at its finest." College athletes are subject to NCAA-mandated drug testing for marijuana at NCAA championship events and football bowl games only, although most drug testing conducted by individual schools during the year includes marijuana. Results of testing for 2010-11 are not yet complete. "It's too early to tell if this is a one-year spike or indication of a larger problem," NCAA spokesman Christopher Radford said. "The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport, which oversees the drug-testing program, is aware of the increase and is monitoring the issue ." The current NCAA-testing policy requires that athletes testing positive sit out one full season and lose a year of eligibility. However, sanctions levied by individual schools that test can vary. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.