The NCAA's quadrennial report on drug use by student-athletes is, needless to say, a huge deal and an important thing to all of us. And so it was shocking, national-news stuff when this year's report emerged, and with it the news that one of our most frequently discussed and ardently bemoaned cultural crises—that is, male college lacrosse players being brodeo clown nightmares of entitlement—once again came to the fore.
You have probably read all of the many columns on this: Jason Whitlock's righteous ire at the permissiveness in the white community that makes such excess not just possible but inevitable; Gregg Doyel's stern demand (and he doesn't care what you think, he's still going to say it) that these knuckleheads grow up. Here, in contrast, we offer two people who grew up in lacrosse-saturated sports cultures trying to make sense of this terrible non-news.
David Roth: "[Men's college lacrosse players] led all other sports in the use of amphetamines, anabolic steroids, cocaine, marijuana and narcotics, according to the NCAA’s quadrennial survey, which included 20,474 responses from athletes for the 2009 school year." This is breaking news to everyone who has never been around lacrosse players.
Brendan Flynn: NO WAI. By which I mean that those dancing bear decals on SUVs do not lie.
Brendan: Steroids? Really? That's depressing actually.
David: I think they're recreational steroids. For times when you want to gain some muscle and then punch a tree a few dozen times after screaming about girls at a party. Amphetamines were surprising to me, too. That's a bad look in any context, but it seems a little un-LAX to me. A little downmarket. A little STX, not very Brine, if you will.
Brendan: I guess Prep School has gone Jersey Shore or something. at my high school—which wasn't good at LAX when I was there but had some D1 kids—it was much more of a chill weed and acid vibe.
David: Me too. I think Fraternity, Junior types had much more narrowly proscribed appetites then, too. Just beer and pot and beat-up Syracuse hats from The Game's Bro Legacy collection. Apparently in a 2001 survey 60% of LAX BROS admitted to smoking pot, and that number has gone down in the surveys since. That still seems low to me.
Brendan: That does sound low, but people won't normally admit illegal behavior, even in anonymous surveys.
Brendan: How many of these kids had black light posters in their dorm room? Is that data available?
David: Where is the NCAA on Dark Side of the Moon posters? ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH, as usual.
Brendan: According to Bylaw 4567.92 "Posters are allowed, provided they are not purchased from that weird guy that sells them at the start of each school year."
David: Also you can't have Bruce Pearl buy them for you.
Brendan: Or even text you a jpeg of them.
David: Which all makes sense. It's times like this that the NCAA seems especially valuable. At least someone is looking out for the kids. Standing athwart a sports culture that instills all the wrong values and teaches kids that they're untouchable because of their athletic talents. Standing athwart all that and being like, "Bro, hit this shit."