As legislation legalizing the use of recreational marijuana in Illinois nears approval from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, some are leery of the potential implications for the state’s NCAA student-athletes.
In an interview with radio station WJBC, Illinois State AD Larry Lyons said that he was “concerned” about the implications of legal marijuana in the state.
“The education process is going to have to really ramp up,” Lyons told WJBC. “We do have random drug testing, (and) we take it very seriously.”
Marijuana is currently among the substances banned by the NCAA, and if an athlete tests positive for marijuana it can result in suspension. Despite states loosening restrictions on marijuana for the general population, student-athletes still must adhere to NCAA policy.
“I think we are going down the path that eventually federally [marijuana] will not be against the law, and the NCAA is going to have to react on that,” Lyons said.
While marijuana laws represent one challenge the NCAA will likely need to contend with, perhaps a more pressing concern is how the body handles sports betting in the wake of the Supreme Court decision striking down bans on that activity. Illinois is among several states considering legalizing sports betting via legislation.