- Associated Press - Friday, January 6, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Rutgers University has instituted a new drug testing policy that covers all teams that reduces penalties for marijuana use while varying treatment and punishment for drugs.

The 13-page document obtained by NJ Advance Media (http://bit.ly/2jbIXsE ) went into effect in August and superseded a drug testing policy adopted in 2008.

“It balances our concerns for our student-athletes’ well-being with our desire to provide rehabilitation where necessary, and sanction when appropriate, including expulsion from the team ultimately,” athletic director Pat Hobbs said.

The new policy outlines steps to take, including counseling and mandatory drug-test monitoring. The sanctions include:

-A first violation for a performance-enhancing drug (PED) or other hard-drug substance such as cocaine or heroin will result in the athlete receiving a suspension for between “0 to 10 percent” of one season of competition. A first failed marijuana test won’t result in a suspension.

-A second PED or hard-drug violation will result in a suspension from approximately 10-to-25 percent of a season, while a second marijuana failed test will require a suspension from 0 to 10 percent of the current or upcoming season.

-A third PED or hard-drug violation will result in a suspension from approximately 30 to 100 percent of the season, while a third marijuana violation will result in a 10-to-25-percent-of-the-season suspension.

-A fourth PED or hard-drug violation will result in the dismissal from the team, while a fourth marijuana violation mandates the 30-to-100 percent game suspension.

-A fifth violation for marijuana use will result in the dismissal from the team.

Athletes who successfully complete the mandatory treatment program without additional failed drug tests for one year can have a violation expunged once.

Head coaches also have the authority to institute their own rules, which may include more severe consequences.

The NCAA last month issued Rutgers with a Notice of Allegations, charging the athletics program employed practices and procedures that violated the institution’s drug-testing policy. The NCAA said the school failed to sanction 30 football players when they failed their first drug test and alleged that 16 were allowed to play without disciplinary action over a four-year period.

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Information from: NJ Advance Media.

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