Tobacco Use Still Prevalent Even When Banned

Loras College-  The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has one rule regarding tobacco. It is banned during any competition.

Yet certain athlete’s still choose to do it. One athlete at a Midwest D3 school claims that he started chewing tobacco sophomore year of high school and doesn’t plan on quitting until after he is done with collegiate sports. This athlete chose to keep his identity anonymous.

His story is similar to many others.

Another athlete, who talked to LCTV on camera chose to have his appearance and voice altered in order to keep his identity anonymous as well. “I do not use tobacco or anything like that when I play my sport” said the athlete, “I know a lot of guys on our team like to use it. There are rules against using it and they do a good job of not using it when they could potentially get in trouble, but there are deffinetly guys that like to do it.”

The question stands: why is there continuous use when it is a banned substance?

“I think it’s addictive” claims the student.

Denise Udelhofen, the Athletic Director at Loras College states, “I think it’s a habit. I think it’s something that, it’s not, once they get into it, it’s not easy. I think that some more sports that are conducive to it, you know everyone sees that the MLB players are doing it, now that they’ve changed it, but they see, you know, they emulate. And it’s just one of those things that once you do it, it’s just, it’s not easy to stop.”

Even when Major League Baseball (MLB) banned the substance, use is still taking over the fields even with the coaches discouragement.

Udelhofens explains her ideas behind the ban, “My expectation would be that the coaches would monitor that, you know the NCAA isn’t going to monitor it until it comes to the championship.”

The athlete feels the same on the subject, “Our coach says if you get caught during a game that he’s also going to have a penalty so he says if you get caught during a game, you’re not going to be playing and you’re going to have the suspension with him and you’re going to have the suspension more than that.”

This fad isn’t just in D3 athletics. In fact, it is more popular among D1 schools. In a study conducted by Georgia State University, 75% of D1 athletes report ever-using tobacco compared to 36% of D3 athletes.

Udelhofen speculates on those statistics, “I wonder if it’s stress. I mean, I am not saying our division 3 athletes aren’t stressed because they super are. In Division 1 it’s your job. I mean they own you. And so I am wondering if it doesn’t have to do with, my own personal opinion or guess would be just the stress and that is one way they think they can deal with it.”

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Allison is a senior at Loras and the Executive Producer of SportsZONE. She is a double major in Media Studies and Creative Writing. She has interned at KCRG and looks to continue her career in broadcasting after graduation.

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