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CSMAS Meeting and NCAA Convention Outcomes on Health and Safety Issues

Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) December 2012 Meeting Outcomes

Marijuana Policy. At its December 2012 meeting, as the authorized body for administrative oversight of NCAA drug testing, the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) established a new threshold for a positive test for marijuana, setting it at 5 ng/mL, which will take effect in testing during the 2013-14 academic year.  This testing threshold is considered a current best practice for analytical detection.

CSMAS also advanced a recommendation for membership review and support that for a first marijuana positive test in NCAA-administered testing, the student-athlete be withheld from the next 50 percent of the season of competition in all sports, rather than the current legislated penalty in which the student-athlete loses one season of eligibility and is withheld from competition for a minimum of 365 days. The rationale for this action is that marijuana is not a performance enhancer and is not considered “cheating” in the same manner as performance-enhancing drugs. It is believed that with a lesser — though still serious — sanction, there is more of an opportunity for member institutions to intervene and assist their student-athletes to correct the behavior.

As an Association-wide issue, the penalty recommendation will move through the legislative process with sponsorship for the 2014 Convention vote. provided further detail on this action along with a Q & A.

Synthetic Cannabinoids.   CSMAS approved testing for synthetic cannabinoids (also known as synthetic marijuana) under the street drug testing program at NCAA championship testing. Effective August 2013, tests for synthetic cannabinoids will use the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) lab testing standard for level of detection.

Soft Headgear in Non-Helmeted Sports.  CSMAS released a statement regarding the use of helmets or soft headgear in non-helmeted sports for the prevention of concussion. In non-helmeted sports, requiring a medical waiver for the use of soft headgear for the prevention of concussion as a condition to be medically cleared to play is ineffective.  Therefore, the NCAA will not provide medical waivers for this purpose. Soft headgear products may be worn in non-helmeted sports whose rules allow for such optional equipment, but the purpose of that equipment should be for reasons other than concussion prevention (such as to cover lacerations and sutures as they are deemed appropriate within the sport’s playing rules).

It should be noted that there is no helmet that can prevent a concussion and that there is a continued need for valid scientific evidence in the area of concussion prevention.  Click here to read the full statement from CSMAS.


2013 NCAA Convention Actions

Sports Safety Package.  CSMAS has recommended an Association-wide legislative package known as the Sports Safety PackageThe package requires that institutions: (1) designate a team physician; (2) report catastrophic injuries and sudden-death data; (3) strength and conditioning coaches obtain professional certification from an accredited body; and (4) that all full-time coaches maintain current cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) certification. The 2013 NCAA Convention continued the membership review of these critical issues, which meets the membership requirement to protect the health of and provide a safe environment for student-athletes.  

Sickle Cell Trait.  Division III passed legislation requiring confirmation of sickle cell trait status for all student-athletes no later than the 2014-15 academic year, including mandatory confirmation of sickle cell trait status for all incoming student-athletes (first-year and transfers) in 2013-14. This requirement affords athletics healthcare providers at member institutions with critical information to respond appropriately to emergencies and to ensure the health and well-being of all student-athletes. Division III included an additional element requiring comprehensive education for athletics staff and education for student-athletes who choose to sign a waiver declining confirmation of their sickle cell trait status. Read more about the anatomy of this proposal here.

Last Updated: Aug 6, 2013