clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UCLA Basketball Scandal: UCLA's Drug Policy Is the Most Lenient in the Pac-12

George Dohrmann's SI article ultimately pained a picture of a complete failure of leadership at UCLA. The dearth of leadership was only underlined when Chancellor Gene Block and Dan Guerrero conspired to throw Ben Howland under the bus, while avoiding any taking any responsibility for their leadership failures.

We've already pointed out that Dan Guerrero has a lot of questions to answer, including whether UCLA's drug policy is in fact one of the most lenient in the Pac-12 or among BCS conferences, and whether the competitive struggles of the football and men's basketball teams are related to the drug issues among those programs. We've also asked whether the apparent change in the drug policy was spurred by a request from Howland, Neuheisel, or another coach:

The stated goal of the UCLA "drug education and testing program" is "to promote a drug-free environment for the intercollegiate athletics program."

Additionally, the Student Athlete Handbook states Student-Athletes shall not use or be under the influence of drugs not prescribed by an authorized medical doctor. The Student Athlete Handbook also prohibits harassment, abuse, and hazing.

By that standard, clearly, Dan Guerrero has failed. Note that in the 2011-2012 policy there are changes from the policy as reported by the LA Times in 2010. Someone needs to ask when it was changed and why. Was it an acknowledgement of the problem? Did Howland, Neuheisal, or other coaches specifically request a change in the policy because they were in fact having drug problems with their teams?

The 2011-2012 drug policy has apparently changed so that the first positive results in coach and assistant AD notification. One mandatory counseling session is the sanction and the only permissible sanction. It's a good step to notify the coaches. However, the coaches are not permitted to take any disciplinary action. So really, what's the point?

Additionally, given the recent news about Syracuse and their failure to follow their own drug policy, someone needs to ask Dan Guerrero whether anything like this has ever happened at UCLA.

During a decade in which Syracuse basketball reached the pinnacle of national prominence, the program was awash in positive drug tests and, in many cases, failed to adhere to its internal drug policy while playing ineligible players, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

Well, now we know that UCLA's drug policy appears to be the most lenient in the Pac-12 if not in the country, according to research performed by's Brett McMurphy.

McMurphy's research indicates that the Pac-12 provides the following sanctions for positive drug tests:


Arizona: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) one year; (4) dismissal.

Arizona State: (1) none; (2) 25 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

Cal: (1) none; (2) two weeks; (3) one year.

Colorado: (1) none; (2) 20 percent of games; (3) one year.

Oregon: (1) none; (2) length of suspension, if any, not indicated; (3) dismissal.

Oregon State: (1) none; (2) length of suspension, if any, not indicated; (3) dismissal. Note: Policy says student "may be expelled" for second positive, but doesn't indicate a specific length if suspended.

Utah: (1) none; (2) 25 percent of games; (3) dismissal.

UCLA: (1) none; (2) none; (3) one game; (4) dismissal.

Washington: (1) none; (2) 15 percent of games; (3) one year; (4) dismissal.

Washington State: (1) none; (2) 30 days; (3) one year.

Every single institution, except for UCLA, Oregon, and Oregon State have specified suspensions after two positive drug tests. Oregon and Oregon State's policies are apparently vague, such that a second positive may or may not result in a suspension, or the suspension is indefinite. However, both Oregon and OSU are stricter because a third positive results in a dismissal. Additionally, ever Pac-12 institution other than UCLA has a policy that results in dismissal or a one year suspension after the third positive. At UCLA, a third positive results in a one game suspension. Note, Stanford and USC are not included in the analysis because they are private institutions that did not disclose their policies.

How does UCLA compare to other BCS programs?

Six schools -- Auburn, Duke, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State and North Carolina -- suspend a football student-athlete for six games after a second positive test, while four schools -- Clemson, Ole Miss, Purdue and UCLA -- don't suspend a student-athlete until a third-positive test.

UCLA's positive is more lenient than Clemson, where a third positive results in dismissal. Ole Miss's policy has no suspension for two positives, but a three game suspension for three positives.

The only school that really comes close in terms of leniency is Purdue, where a third suspension results in a suspension for 10 percent of the games, and this still makes UCLA's policy more lenient because in sports with higher numbers of contests, the suspension would be more than UCLA's one game suspension.

Thus, it is fair to say that UCLA's drug policy is the most tolerant of drug use of any member of a BCS conference.

Again, keep in mind that as lenient as UCLA's policy is, the athletic department only recently changed it to make slightly less permissive. Dan Guerrero has showed zero leadership, and it is no wonder that the revenue programs have been performing significantly below their historical baselines, UCLA has the fewest donors of any Pac-12 program, and even the non-revenue sports have suffered significantly under Dan Guerrero, entering a period of unchecked decline, all while Dan Guerrero continues to rake in the highest salary of any athletic director in the Pac-12 at nearly three-quarters of a million dollars per year.

In short, Dan Guerrero is a failed athletic director and he needs to go, now. Now we're wondering what it will take for Chancellor Gene Block to realize what an epic failure Guerrero is and what more Block needs to get rid of him.