Baylor Avoided Random Drug Testing for Athletes, Book Alleges

Joseph ZuckerFeatured Columnist

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2015, file photo, a nearly empty McLane Stadium is seen minutes before kickoff between Iowa State and Baylor in an NCAA college football game, in Waco, Texas. Baylor University will look to rebuild its reputation and perhaps its football program after an outside review found administrators mishandled allegations of sexual assault and the team operated under the perception it was above the rules. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

ESPN's Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach report in their upcoming book, Violated, that Baylor University regents were unaware the Baylor Bears athletic program wasn't randomly drug testing student-athletes.

According to Lavigne and Schlabach, those inside the athletic department worried about the consequences of a student testing positive for marijuana, thus opted against random drug testing. Under the school's drug policy, one positive marijuana test could mean a semester-long suspension, and a second positive test could lead to expulsion.

Lavigne and Schlabach noted the NCAA doesn't have requirements for schools regarding random drug testing but that athletic departments are expected to follow whatever policies the school has laid out.

Baylor's lack of random drug testing was discovered by Pepper Hamilton, the law firm Baylor had commissioned to investigate the school's handling of sexual assault allegations.

However, multiple former Baylor players took to Twitter to deny they weren't drug tested during their time at the school:

The university released a findings of fact from Pepper Hamilton in May 2016. The law firm found "institutional failures at every level of Baylor's administration directly impacted the response to individual cases and the Baylor community as a whole."

Regarding the football program and athletic department in particular, Baylor's board of regents wrote Pepper Hamilton uncovered specific problems, "including a failure to identify and respond to a pattern of sexual violence by a football player, to take action in response to reports of a sexual assault by multiple football players, and to take action in response to a report of dating violence."

In the wake of the findings of fact being released, Baylor fired head football coach Art Briles. Former university president Kenneth Starr left the school in August 2016 after having been demoted. Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw resigned in May 2016 as well.