October 9, 2006 - Posted at 5:49 p.m. CDT
POPLAR BLUFF, MO -- Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff is taking monumental steps to make sure it's student athletes are drug free. Every month the school will randomly drug test 20% of each team....and although there hasn't been a problem with drugs at the school before, administrators say this puts "teeth" into their zero tolerance policy.
If you want to play ball for TRCC, you better be clean. Starting this month, the school will be randomly testing for illegal and performance enhancing drugs and alcohol....a first for the community college.
"I think it's a deterrent," said Athletic Director and Men's Basketball Coach Gene Bess, "Good drug policies are a deterrent."
Student athletes are given three weeks of drug education...then sign a contract agreeing to a zero tolerance policy.
Vice President of Student Affairs Joe Rozman commented, "Just because there isn't a problem or you haven't recognized a problem doesn't mean that won't be the case in the future. We want to make a real positive statement. Not only to our athletes, but to the other students and to the community that we are serious about our policy to have our athletes drug and alcohol free."
"I think it will be a good step in the right direction," said sophomore basketball player Kendal Deason, "It will keep us clean, keep the game clean and then I think it will also help the students make the right decisions also."
Any player who tests positive will be kicked off the team and will lose their athletic scholarship.
"Once they sign that contract, it's a zero tolerance policy. And you know, I hear people say, 'well, what about a second chance?' and Mr. Rozman and I both agree this is a second chance, they already know exactly what's going to happen," said Coach Bess, "And I've told them, well, there is a second chance, maybe somewhere else."
As for the student athletes....the drug policy means you are either in the game or forced to watch from the stands.
"I think people will have mixed feelings about it, but ultimately I think people will understand what Three Rivers is trying to do. I think they're just trying to set their bar even higher," said Deason.