An article in ESPN the Magazine reports that anywhere from 40%-60% of the Oregon Ducks football team smoke marijuana on a regular basis.
The article focuses on the use of marijuana across college athletics and football in particular. According to the article the national average is about 25% for football teams in the NCAA, making Oregon’s percentage strikingly high (no pun intended).
The sources are both former and current players on the team. The identities of the players were not revealed.
Chip Kelly and the Athletic Department have a policy where they drug test the players to the extent that the Oregon state law permits them. After a third positive test the player is forced to sit out for half of a season without eligibility. A fourth positive test results in dismissal from the team.
It is unclear as of now how Kelly and the Oregon Athletic Department will handle the reveal of this information.
The likely answer: nothing.
There is not much more that the team can do to ensure college kids will not smoke. They test that as much as the law allows and the players pass. If they do not, they are punished and eventually dismissed.
Cornerback and returner Cliff Harris was dismissed from the team last fall for a series of marijuana-related incidences. Harris was expected to be a star and was a returning All-American.
The same can be said the year prior when quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was dismissed for several drug policy violations as well. Masoli was expected to lead the Ducks to a conference title and possibly a national championship game. Turns out his replacement, Darron Thomas, accomplished both of those things in his place the next season anyway.
By removing Harris and Masoli from the team for drug reasons he proved will remove anyone he has to.
The statistics may seem shocking, but do not expect any fallout from this article. Marijuana is simply a part of college culture, especially in Eugene, Oregon. Colleges across the country have issues with drugs and drinking, and football players are susceptible to it just like any other student. There is simply not much that can be done.
The most damage that can be done to Oregon is to their reputation.
About the Author
Written by Rob Parness
My name is Robbie Parness and I am a student at the University of Oregon. I'm a California native that loves to play, watch and talk about all kinds of sports. I would love to become a sports writer someday or work in sports in any capacity.