Investigation reveals schools ease athlete penalties for marijuana

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LINCOLN, Neb. — An investigation by The Associated Press finds that at least one-third of the Power Five conference schools are not punishing athletes as harshly as they were 10 years ago for using marijuana and other so-called recreational drugs.

The AP analyzed policies for 57 of the 65 schools in the Southeastern, Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences, plus Notre Dame.

Of the 57 schools, 23 since 2005 have either reduced penalties or allowed an athlete to test positive more times before being suspended or dismissed. Ten schools have separate, less stringent policies addressing only marijuana infractions.

In the Pac-12, five schools do not suspend athletes for as long as they once did.

Northwestern, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Southern California, Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest did not provide copies of their drug policies despite repeated requests, citing privacy laws. Stanford does not test its athletes.