Are Dry Seasons Effective for Athletes?

Attitudes differ on the policies for alcohol consumption during athletic seasons by members of the Wittenberg University athletic community. Wittenberg as a whole does not have an overall policy for all teams regarding alcohol consumption so the responsibility for the teams’ conduct relies on the athletes themselves or on the coaches’ rules for the teams.

There are various ways that coaches and players regulate alcohol consumption at Wittenberg. One method is a strict and absolute dry season, meaning that athletes should not be consuming alcohol whatsoever during their team’s season. For example, the Wittenberg men’s basketball team employs a dry season.

Sam Collins, a junior on the men’s basketball team, commented, “The guy’s basketball team has a very strict dry season policy. Basketball players go out but no one drinks and everyone follows that rule.”

Another method that coaches and players enforce on teams is called the 24-48 rule. Various teams on campus, including the Wittenberg women’s lacrosse team and the Wittenberg women’s soccer team, employ this policy.

Junior women’s soccer player Tobie Weston said, “Historically, our team has the 24-48 rule in place. We don’t drink 24 hours before a practice and we don’t drink 48 hours before a game. This has worked out pretty well for us.”

Some of the regulations for the control of alcohol consumption on athletic teams come from the coaching staff employed by Wittenberg, such as the Wittenberg women’s soccer team and the men’s basketball team. However, some teams on campus enforce the regulations among the members of the team and the upperclassmen create the policy for the rest of the members. Examples of these teams on campus include Wittenberg women’s volleyball team and the Wittenberg women’s lacrosse team.

Junior women’s lacrosse player Beth Hubbard said, “We all look out for each other and would rather help each other out with staying accountable.”

There is currently an argument among members of athletic varsity teams regarding the effectiveness of dry seasons and whether overarching policies for alcohol consumption are beneficial in general to teams.

Collins said, “Everyone knows that alcohol and drinking causes negative effects on athletes so we really have no tolerance for it during our season.”

However, Hubbard had an alternative perspective on the effectiveness of alcohol policies in team rules.

“Dry seasons can go one of two ways: they can be strictly reinforced by coaches with set punishments, or teammates can hold you accountable,” said Hubbard. “But it is hard to hold your friends accountable and it’s hard with no overarching consequences. I think that dry seasons cause a lot of drama because there will always be some people who hold the rules to a tee and then people who push the boundaries of the policies. I think if I go out and get wasted and then do bad in practice the next day, that’s on me and nobody else. It is better to be on our own with the decision to drink or not because we should be at an age that we can hold ourselves accountable.”

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