The NCAA is supporting the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s order to mandate drug tests for all college athletes, but was quick to air concern over the expenses.
On Monday, spokesman Derrick Carreon told the Inquirer that PDEA director general Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr. issued the directive in the wake of the arrest of Far Eastern University starter Anthony Hargrove and reserve Adam Mohammed last week for alleged possession of marijuana.
NCAA Season 88 chairman Fr. Victor Calvo, O.P. said the country’s oldest collegiate league is willing to comply with the order but aired questions on how the directive will be implemented, specifically on who would cover the huge expenses involved.
“I don’t see any problem with that. It’s for the best,” Calvo said in a phone interview with Spin.ph on Monday. “Ang tanong ko lang, are they authorized to require, and who will pay for it?”
The Dominican priest, who is also Letran’s athletic director, said the NCAA has been doing mandatory drug testing on all basketball players prior to the start of each season for 10 years now.
However, the league does not require all college athletes outside basketball to undergo drug tests due of budget constraints, Calvo said.
“You’re talking here of around twenty thousand athletes,” he said.
Drug tests done by the NCAA's rival league, the UAAP, are also limited to basketball players and done only before the start of each season.
Calvo, however, was quick to add that the league will find a way to solve the matter regardless if PDEA will shoulder the expenses for the tests or not.
“Even if not, we’ll find ways,” Calvo said. “Gambling-free and drug-free league naman ang gusto nating mangyari.”
Calvo said some schools like Letran are already implementing mandatory drug testing not just on their athletes but on all their students as well.
Calvo said he will also bring up in the NCAA board's meeting on Tuesday morning the case of La Salle Greenhills coach Jhun Roy Torrenchoa, who was arrested, along with United Football League booter Gerald Orcullo and another companion, last week for alleged drug-pushing.
Calvo said that NCAA rules state that anyone affiliated with the league who tests positive for illegal drugs is automatically expelled, adding there have been cases in the past where schools expelled athletes who tested positive of illegal drugs after conducting their own tests.