Student-athletes go to school for two things—partying and playing ball (three if you want to include going to class, but do they really go to college for that?). Thinking they might actually go onto to play pro someday is nice, but it sure is easier to party when you are on the team.
"Partying" is done in all sorts of fashions of course; legal and illegal. Thanks to the passage of a couple of laws-- Amendment 64 in Colorado and Initiative 502 in Washington—one of those illegal things has been made legal.
People over the age of 21 are now able to possess a small amount of marijuana and can grow up to six plants if they so choose. While the particulars of the new law still need to be fleshed out, recreational use in the state of Colorado and Washington is now legal.
So how does this help recruiting efforts? Marijuana is still a drug. Get caught using by the NCAA and you can expect to get slapped with some kind of consequence.
Getting caught by the university or NCAA isn't the big problem for athletes. It's getting busted by police that really stings. That's typically when players get suspended from the team or worse depending on the severity or frequency of charges.
Take the case of LSU's Tyrann Mathieu. The Honey Badger was one of the most exciting players in college football last season, but one too many positive test lead to him getting kicked off the team. There were rumors that he could be heading back to the Bayou next season, but after getting busted for possession once again that dream is done.
Several players in recent years have had run-ins. Dre Kirkpatrick was busted in a car that contained 7.9 grams of marijuana shortly after helping Alabama win the national title last season. Four TCU players were busted in a big sting operation last February. Missouri suspended five players early this season after they were busted y campus police smoking pot.
The list could easily go on and on and on, but the point is simple—there are countless careers that have been derailed due to getting busted by the cops. With studies claiming that more than 1 in 4 college football players smokes marijuana the legal ramifications could be disastrous should they get in trouble with the law.
According to Rivals.com Washington has the No. 18 recruiting class in the nation; Colorado's is No. 62, Colorado State No. 89, and Washington State just No. 52. It will be interesting to see if that changes now that pot has been legal in those states.