Pot law doesn’t change game plan
Ryan Goddard has never smoked marijuana.
“First, it was illegal and my dad was a cop,” Goddard said. “Second, my priorities were school and athletics. I never really got into the party scene.
“My parents had a great influence on the choices I made growing up and the ones that I continue to make.”
Goddard, 30, is the head football coach at South High School. He witnesses young student-athletes make wise — and, yes, dumb — choices on a daily basis.
As of Wednesday, Goddard and his colleagues have another reason for concern.
Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. Even though buyers must be 21, the legalization of weed, Goddard said, lessens the stigma attached to what he personally considers a harmful substance.
“The law didn’t really change anything for us because minors can’t buy it and it’s illegal for them to use it, just like alcohol,” Goddard said. “I don’t think (the new law) will make (pot) more available. It’s out there now if anyone really wanted to get it.
“It’s unfortunate that some kids make those kinds of choices, and maybe this does make is easier to justify, saying that it’s not illegal anymore.”
High school coaches no longer concern themselves with just practices and games. They must deal with fundraising, budgets, transportation and the eligibility of their student-athletes.
Coaches also enforce discipline — or at least deal with the consequences handed out by the school or district. Goddard has had players miss games because of drinking tickets. But he has never had a player disciplined for pot use or possession.
“You hope you are teaching kids to make the right choices,” Goddard said. “It would be nice if you could go to work every day and not have to worry about those things. But that’s not reality. This is just one more thing.”
Student-athletes in Pueblo City Schools, and in most school districts, sign code of conduct contracts in which they agree not to use drugs or alcohol.
Those contracts are broken more often than coaches like Goddard would like.
“It’s unfortunate and there’s nothing you can do to control it as a coach or a teacher,” Goddard said. “Other than stress the importance of making good choices and living with the consequences when you don’t.”
One high school student-athlete in Pueblo City Schools, who requested not to be identified, said that the new law will have little impact on how teens party.
“The kids who smoked weed before will still smoke it,” she said. “Most kids just drink when they party. Now that weed is legal, some kids might try it, but that’s about it.”
College student-athletes fall under school and NCAA drug-testing policies. Even those 21 and older must think twice before partaking.
“The change in the Colorado law didn’t change anything we do,” CSU-Pueblo women’s basketball coach Kip Drown said. “If you test positive, you deal with the consequences, whether it’s legal or not.”
Drug testing is random at CSU-Pueblo. Drown said two of his players were tested in the fall.
“They give us 48 hours notice and that’s it,” Drown said.
Not once in his nine years at CSU-Pueblo, or anywhere else in 36 years of coaching, has a Drown-coached athlete failed a drug test.