Tennis player suspended for smoking hookah
After openly talking about smoking hookah occasionally with friends for a story published in The Bulletin last semester, tennis player Kenton Hallowell, a sophomore recreation major and tennis player, was suspended for three weeks for breaking his coach’s “no tobacco” policy.
“He called me in after reading the story and said I had a choice between suspension, loss of scholarship money or playing time, so I picked suspension,” Hallowell said. “It was during the off-season so I didn’t miss any matches, but I had to sit out for all practices and meetings for those three weeks.”
According to Carmen Leeds, associate director of intercollegiate athletics, all student athletes are subject not only to the rules of the National College Athletic Association, but also the rules set in place by their coaches.
“Some of the coaches have different rules about tobacco and alcohol,” Leeds said. “Some have like a 48-hour rule (no consumption 48 hours before they compete) and some don’t allow it completely. It just all varies what is best for the players and their sports.”
Since the NCAA does not have any regulations regarding the consumption of tobacco or alcohol, it is at the discretion of the coaches to set rules. John Cayton, head tennis coach, requires that his players not use tobacco or consume any alcohol while they are competing for the University, even in the off-season.
“These are the rules that I drafted and my bosses have them,” Cayton said. “This is what we feel is important for the athletes to abide by for their health and for their full performance on the team is basically the rational why they have it.”
At the beginning of each season, Cayton requires each of his players to sign an agreement that they will not use any alcoholic or tobacco products while they are playing for the university, even in the off-season. The head coach said he called the athlete into his office after reading the article were Hallowell was quoted saying he smoked hookah a couple times a month with a group of friends.
“I remember reading all those rules and signing (it),” Hallowell said. “I think it just kind of slipped my mind. I don’t think I even used any hookah this past season, but I have used hookah in the past, and I was more referring to past events.”
Hallowell said he does not think the tobacco rule for Emporia State’s tennis team is too strict because collegiate athletes are required to be at their top performance.