National Center for Drug Free Sport vice president Andrea Wickerham said the arrests of four football players among 17 students overall on suspicion of selling marijuana is symbolic of an increasing pot problem in college athletics.
She hopes administrators across the nation are paying attention.
“I hope they don’t see this event at TCU as an isolated incident. It’s not,” she said. “The question is, ‘What does TCU do about it?’ and what do other college administrators do?”
The arrests at TCU came Wednesday, just a month after the NCAA said that 22.6 percent of 20,474 student-athletes participating in an anonymous survey in 2009 admitted to using marijuana the previous 12 months. That number was up from 21.2 percent in 2005.
Among the most high-profile sports, across all divisions, 26.7 percent of football players and 22 percent of men’s basketball players admitted in 2009 to using marijuana the previous year. Both were up significantly from the 2005 numbers (21.7 percent and 18.6 percent, respectively).
The report has been done every four years since 1985 and alcohol always has been the overwhelming substance of choice. Marijuana is No. 2. The NCAA tests for marijuana at its championship events and football bowl games but not in its year-round testing program that has been in place since 1990.
In 2009-10, the most recent academic year for which data is available, 72 of 1,645 tested athletes (4.3 percent) turned up positive for marijuana. That was up from 28 of 1,799 tested athletes (1.6 percent) in 2008-09.
The National Center for Drug Free Sport administers drug tests for more than 250 colleges as well as the NCAA.