A freshman on the water polo team was released from D.C. jail Monday evening after being charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Alexander Price, an 18-year old from Hawaii, spent nearly two days in custody after being arrested in his Thurston Hall room early Sunday morning, according to a police report of the incident. The report documented that Price admitted to possession of nine bags of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and $733.64 in cash. He said he was supplying his roommates with marijuana for alcohol, according to court documents.
Coach Scott Reed and Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz booted the scholarship athlete off the water polo team. Price faces a Nov. 20 court date when, if convicted, he could face a maximum of 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to D.C. law. He also awaits a decision from Student Judicial Services on his status at GW.
GW does not drug-test its athletes, and NCAA drug tests do not test for street drugs. The NCAA only tests one team per school each year, and the water polo team has not been tested in four years, senior Jack Hornberger, the team’s captain, told The Hatchet for an Oct. 12 story about drug testing in the athletic department.
The University has not yet decided Price’s fate, Reed said. If a student is found in violation of the distribution of drugs, they could face suspension or expulsion from the University, Tara Woolfson, the director of SJS, wrote in an e-mail. The minimum sanction for the possession and intent to sell drugs is a one-year suspension, according to the Code of Student Conduct. For a first-time possession of alcohol charge, a student could incur a $50 fine and be required to attend an alcohol class.
But Price, as a scholarship athlete, may lose more. Although Kvancz said he couldn’t lose his scholarship for at least a year, his coach said he is unsure if he’ll play for GW again. Price, who last had a goal against Chapman (Calif.) Oct. 7., receives a partial scholarship.
“I need to really see what the whole judicial process comes up with,” Reed said. “Naturally, he’s innocent until proven guilty. At this point in time I can sit back and see what the school and D.C police will determine.”
But for the water polo team, the drug discovery policy will not be altered. While Reed said he is not opposed to testing for drugs in athletics, he added that he would not institute tests solely for his team in light of the arrest. Rules and punishments for drug and alcohol violations are made clear early in the year and water polo players understand the ramifications before they start practice, Reed said. He added that he relies on players to tell coaches and captains about drug problems.
Price will not be required to enter a drug rehabilitation program, possibly because he may not have tested positive in his drug screening, said Maria Douglas, his case manager in D.C. Pretrial Services. In a document filed with the court, Price “indicated never having used substances.”
Price is due in court with Judge M. Zinora Mitchell-Rankin, a 1979 graduate of GW Law School.
According to the UPD report, MPD was notified because the UPD officer noticed a large amount of marijuana. UPD Officer Travis Hafner entered Price’s room at about 2 a.m. Sunday and found seven students and a strong odor of burnt marijuana, according to documents filed with the court. After a search, the nine bags of marijuana, money and “(numerous) smoking devices” were found, and Price claimed everything. One of the seven people was not a GW student and was banned from campus.
The Hatchet reported in the Oct. 12 article that the University has no additional policy for testing its athletes for drugs on top of NCAA rules, which ban street drugs but do not test for them except in national championship events.