the choices

   Albert Camus once said, “Life is the sum of all your choices.” As a athlete you’re making choices all the time. When you’re playing the choices you make can win or lose games, but can the choices you make when you’re not competing cause you to win or lose as well?

   I had the opportunity to sit down with two student-athletes here at UNLV . One of them made a choice and faced the consequences of it, and the other spoke with me about the choice his teammate made, and the choices that many athletes make. Both student-athletes asked for their names, team, and sport to be withheld.

Q: How old are you?

A: 22

Q: What year are you in school?

A: Senior, but I’ll be graduating in May 2009.

Q: What’s your major?

A: Beverage Management

Q: How long have you been playing?

A: About 18 years.

Q: Prior to this incident, had you smoked marijuana before?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you still smoke now?

A: No, I haven’t smoked since my test.

Q: Oh yes, the test. Let’s talk about that. Was the whole team drug tested?

A: No.

Q: Were you bitter towards your other teammates that didn’t get drug tested?

A: It was a random test, I wasn’t bitter.

Q: How did you find out you were going to be drug tested?

A: The night of my game, I received a written letter that said I would be drug tested the next morning, and if I didn’t show up for the drug test it would considered a failed drug test.

Q: What were your thoughts once you received the letter?

A: I was worried and thought maybe it was a joke and I just figured I would be in trouble. I knew the weed wasn’t out of my system.

Q: Was this a NCAA drug test or a UNLV drug test?


Q: So once you found out you were going to be tested, you decided to get some detox to try and cover up the marijuana that was in your system. Is this correct?

A: Yes.

Q: Was it your idea to get the detox?

A: Yes.

Q: Where did you get it from?

A: A smoke shop called Diversity.

Q: Now the person that sold you the detox told you it wouldn’t show up in the test. Did it?

A: Yes, the detox showed up in the test.

Q: The detox was supposed to cover up the marijuana in your system, correct?

A: Yes.

Q: When had you smoked prior to the drug test?

A: A week before I got tested.

Q: Was it a blood sample or a urine sample that you had to give?

A: A urine sample.

Q: Do you still smoke now?

A: No.

Q: Now that you’ve failed a UNLV drug test, how often do you get drug tested?

A: I haven’t been tested since I failed. I got tested twice immediately after I failed but not since then.

Q: Do you have any regrets?

A: Yeah, bad choice, bad timing.

Q: Will you get drug tested over summer?

A: I dunno. There’s random testing over summer, so there’s a chance.

Q: What punishment did you receive for failing the drug test?

A: I was suspended for two weeks, no practice, or games. I had 20 hours of community service, drug counseling service, and I had to write a reflection letter.

Q: Do you feel like you should have received a harsher punishment?

A: Definitely not.

Q: Why?

A: I think my punishment was harsh enough for a first time offense.

Q: Would you say you’re easily influenced?

A: No, I wouldn’t

Q: Where you pressured to smoke?

A: There was pressure but it’s not what made me make the decision.

Q: What did your parents have to say about you failing a drug test?

A: They don’t know.

Q: Why?

A: Because they don’t need to know, I’m an adult.

Q: Where you the only person on your team that failed?

A: Um, no. Two people failed, not including myself.

Q: Do you think it’s right for student-athletes to be tested?

A: Yes because athletes shouldn’t use drugs, whether they enhance or not.

Q: So then why did you?

A: I was pretty confident I wasn’t gonna get tested, I dunno.

Q: You’re a Division I athlete, why would you use drugs?

A: Same way any other student would choose to.

Q: So you don’t feel you should be held to a higher standard?

A: Uh, no I don’t.

Q: Do you think you have a substance abuse problem?

A: No.

Q: Do you feel the affects of smoking when you play?

A: No! I don’t feel the affects of smoking when I play.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to say?

A: I don’t have anything else to say.

   After speaking with this particular student-athlete, I sat down with his teammate to get his insight on what had happened.

Q: How did you feel when you found out some of your teammates had failed drug tests?

A: My first thoughts were, oh shit, who was it and how many?

Q: Being a transfer and a new kid on the team, did this influence how you felt about the team?

A: No.

Q: How do you feel about student-athletes being drug tested?

A: Just in general I would say it’s not a bad thing but it’s not a good thing at the same time.

Q: What makes it bad?

A: We live in this limelight of where everybody wants to know what we’re doing, but regular students don’t get that.

Q: What makes it good?

A: It makes it good because teammates have to make some sort of sacrifice for the team because they’re afraid of getting caught. I know some players would go out and do drugs on a regular basis of they knew they wouldn’t get caught.

   As Albert Camus once said, “Life is the sum of all your choices,” and just because you’re a student-athlete doesn’t mean you should be treated differently, but maybe the choices you make should be different. Drug-testing is a touchy subject in general, but it’s not really about the test, it’s about the choices.



29th Annual Scholar-Athlete Luncheon

    Unfortunatley I had to miss Charlotte-Anne’s advanced reporting class today, but it was for a good cause. I attended the 29th annual scholar-athlete luncheon this afternoon. 134 student-athletes were honored for achieving GPAs of 3.0 or higher and recognized as MWC and Mountain West Sports Federation (men’s soccer) Academic All-Conference recipients. Honorees must have completed one academic semester at UNLV and have competed in 50 percent of the team’s contests.

    There were 29 student-athletes recognized for being named to the MWC’s Scholar-Athlete Award list for having a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or greater in at least two semesters at UNLV. Forty-three individuals were honored as members of the Rebel Top 10 for attaining a GPA which places them in the top 10 percent of all student-athletes at UNLV. The award is based on cumulative GPA’s of all student-athletes who have completed one full academic year at UNLV.

   Kyle Kretchmer from the men’s baseball team and Jessica Walters from the women’s volleyball team were named UNLV’s Most-Outstanding Scholar-Athletes.

     It was great seeing student-athletes get recognized for the work they put in not just on the field or in the arena, but in the classroom.


NewsU Extra Credit

    J. “Bart” Bartosek’s seminar on online credibility was great! The internet grows more everyday with people using the world wide web to tell the news, or share stories about a wide variety of things. The seminar discussed things such as how traditional print instincts work against us online. I thought this was a great point made because the online print is all about keeping things current and fresh. There were also some great tips on what to do and not do when you’re writing for online. I liked the seminar on credibility, I took some good things away from it.  


citizen media law project

    It’s time for another timeout. In mid-February 2008, CNN fired Chez Pazienza a senior producer for “American Morning” because of his personal blog. Pazienza never said he worked for CNN. On his blog he discussed news media and politics, but never referenced to CNN. I don’t understand how someone could be fired for something that didn’t relate to their job. This is just another example of people trying to put a stop to blogging. Blog on people! Blog on!



   Three Rebels will represent UNLV in Beijing. The UNLV men’s swimming team had two current swimmers and one alumni qualify over the past four days for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, after the final day of competition ended at the Canadian Olympic Trials on Sunday in Montreal. Richard Hortness, Joe Bartoch, and Jonas Andersson will all be representing UNLV. Congratulations guys and keep up the great work!


not so bad

   The NCAA crowned a new Div I national champion Monday night. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! The University of Kansas Jayhawks beat the Memphis Tigers to win it all. The Jayhawks also beat our Runnin’ Rebels. Which means, we lost to the national champions. Now obviously when we played them in the tournament, we didn’t know they would win the whole thing. What I’m getting at is, we had a good run an a great season. We should all be proud of our boys. Hopefully next year we won’t get an 8th seed and play the national champions in the 2nd round 😉



    Usually I’m blogging about sports, but I want to take a timeout from that right now to talk about something that affects more people than we realize. Hunger. Food. What can you eat for a $1.08 a day? 10 years ago there were lots of things you could eat for under a dollar, but with the condition our economy is in now, It’s just not realistic. I went to a few fast food places and looked at their menus. I decided to go with fast food because going into a grocery store would just be ridiculous. Del Taco had tacos that were 69 cents. So if it’s tacos you want, Del Taco is your place because Taco Bell is too exspensive for your $1.08 a day budget. The french fries at Wendy’s are also affordable. This pattern continued as I went to different fast food places. A few affordable items here and there. What’s interesting is, the things that are affordable weren’t the healthiest things. Eating healthy on a budget is out of the question. I found a great website with some interesting statistics on women and poverty as well as poverty and hunger statistics. Check it out! http://www.pbs.org/now/politics/womenpoverty.html

May 2020