Slippery Rock University’s Athletic Department is focused on promoting and spreading awareness of responsible behaviors and healthy lifestyles to student athletes.
Student athletes at SRU are given a student athlete handbook at the beginning of every year with rules, regulations and resources for multiple topics. One of the topics discusses the use of drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
Student athletes are required to sign a SRU consent form in which they agree to participate in the Department of Athletics’ Drug Testing Program. Substance abuse, dependence, crimes and other areas are the top health and safety concerns for the program.
The student athlete handbook states, “The use of illegal substances and drugs is a crime. The use of performance enhancing drugs is detrimental to student health and it is a form of cheating and will not be condoned.”
SRU Director of Athletics Roberta Page spoke on the purpose of drug and alcohol testing at SRU.
“Anytime you’re an athlete the one thing we don’t want you to be is under the influence of anything that’s going to affect your body,” Page said. “If you did something and all of a sudden that increases your heart rate and we did not know what you were on and coach sends you out on a workout and your heart rate goes up even more.
“That could be detrimental to your health.”
Although each team is required to follow the rules of the student athlete handbook, individual teams are allowed to make their own restrictions. The individual team rules cannot be less severe than the university’s.
SRU men’s cross-country team has a baseline rule for their team alone in addition to the university and The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules.
“The baseline rule we kind of have is definitely like a week or two weeks before a race, don’t go crazy,” a cross country member said. “But it makes it challenging because in cross country we race every other weekend and track every weekend.
“If you’re going out, then you’re hurting yourself and bringing yourself down. The consequences will follow your trainings and are not going to go well.”
SRU women’s lacrosse captain Gillian O’Rourke spoke on the rules applied to the team in regard to practices, weight training lifts and games.
“For practices and lifts we have a 24-hour rule,” O’Rourke said. “If you are of age, you should not be drinking 24 hours before a lift or practice. For game days or play days we have a 48-hour rule.
“This means you cannot drink or go out for 48 hours before the game.”
SRU also has a three strike violation rule for student athletes who fail any drug or alcohol tests.
The first violation will result in mandatory alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) programs, counseling might be recommended, and the student athlete will receive a written warning which will also be copied to the head coach from the athletic director.
The second violation will result in all actions listed in violation one with addition to a loss of 20% of the season’s competition, or a number of dates of competition. The student athlete will be permitted to practice but not participate in competition.
The third violation will result in permanent loss of athletic privilege and scholarship if applicable.
In addition to the university’s rules and team rules, NCAA drug tests athletes at random throughout the year. For these drug tests, the NCAA looks for drugs including stimulants, anabolic agents, diuretics, street drugs, peptide hormones and their related compounds.
Students who fail a drug or alcohol test are offered resources by SRU and the NCAA. The university provides education and ATOD programs for student athletes.
The ATOD policy is the education program for student-athletes, cheerleaders, equipment managers and athletic trainers. During the education program each team will have one or more peer education leaders or a Slippery Rock University Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) member. SAAC members are resources for student athletes who work with their peers on education and prevention.
Student athletes hold a high reputation and have a lot on the line while being on a collegiate team at SRU. This could involve an athletic scholarship or a future beyond SRU.
Students who are a part of an athletic team feel more inclined to be aware of their behavior and surroundings.
“If we’re out making fools of ourselves, then that would fall on kind of the team as a whole and our coaching staff,” a cross-country member said. “So yeah, that definitely plays a role like being on our best behavior and acting appropriately.”
All rules and regulations set by the university and NCAA in regard to drugs and alcohol are meant to help student athletes develop responsible habits and keep them safe.
“I mean, we’re people and we’re students. I do not want any of our students to do drugs and I certainly do not want our student-athletes to do that either,” Page said.