Rule changes for student athletes raise questions

By Braden Schroeder
Student athletes should be aware of changes to the school corporation’s policies for illegal substances.
Assistant principal Joe Voelker confirmed this year if an athlete is caught with tobacco on a first offense he or she will only miss 5 percent of the season instead of 10 percent as it used to be.
“The rationale for the change was to match the level of consequence received by students who commit the same offenses during the school day,” said assistant principal of student activities and athletic director Jeff Cerqueira.
“Administration from New Albany and Floyd Central met with (director of high schools) Dr. Louie Jensen and collaborated together to make the changes,” said Cerqueira.
The amount of time off of the student athlete’s season for being caught with alcohol, controlled substances, marijuana, and other illegal substances was also changed.
“Marijuana, alcohol, controlled substances, etc. have been reduced from 20 percent to 10 percent for a student’s first offense,” said Voelker.
With reduced punishments also comes questioning if number of incidents with tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, and controlled substances will increase.
“Since the punishment is not as harsh I think people will be less worried about it,” said sophomore Chris Boone. Other students agreed.
“People will think that since it [the punishment] is down then they can get away with it and it would not be a big deal to be caught,” said freshman Emma Briscoe.
While some think it will increase incidents, others argue that it will not.
“I do not really think it will at all. The people who use it will still use it and the people that do not will not use it,” said senior Luke Uhl.
Administrators also think that it will not cause an increase in violations among student athletes.
“I do not think there will be a rise in the number of incidents because there is still a punishment and players who train all year long for a sport will not want to sit out of contests,” said Voelker.
Statistics back up the new rule as well.
“Based on discipline data, students do not change their behavior due to a minor increase or decrease in consequences. We feel that having a consequence will hold student athletes accountable while at the same time not make it excessively punitive if they make a poor choice,” said Cerqueira.
“As far as I know people have been doing illegal things for as long as I can remember,” said sophomore Brandon Baugh. This thought can then lead to another thought that if any punishment will have an effect on amount of incidents relating  illegal substances.
“I think they will do it regardless if there is a huge punishment or a minor punishment,” said Baugh. “That is just high school for you.”

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