McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

June 7, 2013

NCAA shouldn’t ban Adderall

McALESTER — Jonathan Gray, the University of Oklahoma’s ace and a likely top-five MLB draft pick, tested positive for a banned substance Monday. It came after a pre-MLB draft drug test, so while Gray won’t be suspended by the MLB or NCAA, he'll be subjected to additional testing after he’s drafted. Gray can still pitch in Friday’s opener of the Super Regional tournament at Louisiana State University.

The Sooners have said little on this subject, other than that Gray is in compliance with NCAA and university policy, and they support him. Detractors, of course, are demanding Gray be benched.

Gray tested positive for amphetamine mixed salts, a drug combination commercially known as Adderall. Various studies conducted over the last decade have found Adderall to be the most abused prescription stimulant on college campuses nationwide. Some of those studies have suggested as many as one in every five college students takes Adderall without a prescription, and the drug’s usage especially ramps up during finals, when students are more likely to study late into the night or pull all-nighters.

Steroids create an unfair competitive advantage because not many players use them. But because of the widespread use of Adderall in college, banning its use actually puts athletes at a competitive disadvantage.

Granted, that disadvantage comes in the classroom and not on the field. But if the NCAA’s goal really is to help high schoolers get an education through athletic scholarships they couldn’t otherwise afford, isn’t it hypocritical to ban what’s become the most popular study aid at the collegiate level?

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