The Associated Press
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly said he believes a media report estimating that between 40 percent and 60 percent of his players use marijuana is inaccurate.
Kelly addressed the story in ESPN The Magazine (linked here and linked here) today following practice. The report is based on interviews with 19 current or former Oregon players and officials, and it accompanies a larger piece that looks at marijuana use among college football players nationwide.
Kelly said he doubts the Ducks would be as successful as they have been over the past few years if that many players were smoking marijuana.
“If we had that many kids doing it, we wouldn’t be 34-6 (for the last three seasons),” Kelly said. This past season, the Ducks defeated Wisconsin 45-38 in the Rose Bowl.
“We win because of how hard we practice, and I see our kids every day in practice,” Kelly said. “If we saw signs of it — I haven’t seen signs of it.”
Kelly’s comments came a day after Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens responded to the magazine article, which was available online on Wednesday.
“Similar to many college campuses wrestling with the same issue, the University of Oregon actively works to address potential use of any illegal substance through a combination of education, prevention and enforcement activities,” Mullens said in a statement.
He also said Oregon tests student-athletes to the full extent possible under Oregon state law, which prohibits random drug tests. The school’s policy allows for testing when there is a “reasonable suspicion.”
Kelly said today he wished he could perform random tests to settle the matter. He talked to the team about the report and said that in the past he has brought in outside experts to speak to players about substance abuse.
“I think it’s a problem that’s on every college campus right now,” he said. “I think the biggest thing, our responsibility as coaches is to educate our guys on what the dangers are.”
For a positive drug test, Oregon athletes receive counseling and education. A second positive test results in a “behavior modification contract” between the student and the coach. Athletes are ineligible for half of a season following a third failed test, and will be dismissed from the team and lose their scholarship for the fourth.