Just a few weeks ago, preferred walk-on defensive back C.J. Harris was gearing up to play for Auburn in the fall. However, that all came crashing down when Harris, who treats his epilepsy-caused seizures with prescribed cannabis, was reportedly told by the school that the NCAA wouldn't permit him to play due to that cannabis prescription.
According to WGXA, Harris began taking cannabis oil in January 2017 after he got his 14th seizure. He had been diagnosed with epilepsy during his sophomore year of high school (after his fourth seizure) and had been stricken with the disorder until he started taking the drug.
Marijuana is a banned substance under NCAA rules. Players who test positive for THC will lose half their remaining eligibility. Now the NCAA does make exemptions for players who have to take prescriptions for medical reasons, but marijuana is categorized as an illicit drug for which there is no such medical exception.
WGXA adds that Auburn, not the NCAA, told Harris' family that he could not participate in the upcoming season after taking "a second look" at his medical records. This would seem to be an obvious instance of a case where common sense is trumped by unnecessary absolutes.
According to a spokesman who gave a comment to SB Nation, the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports has “discussed medical marijuana and CBD products at recent meetings." The group meets again next month, and the spokesman added that he expects those topics to be discussed during that meeting.
As for Harris, he is reportedly looking into junior colleges and NAIA programs where he'd be eligible to play next season. He is also set to talk to some new doctors about taking something else that would allow him to both deal with his seizures and play NCAA football.