The University of Tennessee will revert to an old policy in hopes of creating a new image for its much-maligned athletic department.
All student athletes at UT will be subject to a three-strikes-and-you're-out drug policy as of July 1, UT director of public relations Tiffany Carpenter confirmed on Thursday.
Previously, athletes had to fail four drug tests before being dismissed. Three positive drug tests had long been cause for dismissal before UT revamped its policy in 2007 and added a fourth strike for a positive marijuana test.
"There's a pretty strong record if someone makes it to the third step, they are going to end up being dismissed. Very few are able to go back," UT athletic director Mike Hamilton told the News Sentinel in January, adding that it was time for student athletes, coaches and staff members at UT do a "gut check" in regards to discipline.
Hamilton did not return messages on Thursday.
Carpenter added that UT is also considering some type of gun policy for student athletes, but there are legal issues attached to it.
The Vols have faced plenty of negative publicity over the past few months.
Football players Janzen Jackson, Nu'Keese Richardson and Mike Edwards were arrested in November and charged with attempted armed robbery.
Richardson and Edwards were dismissed. Jackson was allowed to remain on the team when his charges were later dropped.
Basketball players Tyler Smith, Cameron Tatum, Brian Williams and Melvin Goins faced misdemeanor charges after guns and drugs were found during a traffic stop.
Smith was dismissed. Tatum, Williams and Goins remain on the team.
The arrests certainly had an effect, as some prospective athletes told the News Sentinel in January that they were no longer considering attending UT because of concern about discipline, or lack thereof.
Under the old policy, athletes faced an indefinite suspension and, in some cases, in-house patient programs, and additional random drug testing after a third positive drug test.
The first positive drug test led to counseling and random drug testing. The second positive test led to suspension, further education and additional random testing.