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January 19, 2014

UGA Drug Policy Changes

They won't, certainly under Richt.

We have this discussion every year. Every year it is the same, and the same arguments are trotted out:
  1. UGA's drug policies are too tough. Hard to argue with this, especially with a lack of uniformity of policies around collegiate athletics. If you want me to get on board with the 'NCAA cares about student-athlete's welfare' lie talking point, develop a consistent illegal drug and testing policy, instead of simply testing, and requiring testing, but leaving the policies and testing to the individual schools. 
  2. UGA puts itself at a disadvantage because it puts the name of offenders in the public on the first offense. This it a tougher one. On one hand, the policy isn't a surprise to players. They should know that if they smoke the reefer and get caught, they will end up on the AJC and ESPN. On the other, at some point, how much do players who know they can't give up on the weed decide that coming to Athens isn't worth the risk when they can play for at least 12 of the SEC members, or nearly all of the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, or B1.5G and get a free pass for the first offense.
However, we have three bigger problems:
  • We continually shoot our self in the foot by how, when, and who we test. It is simple to me. Schools are responsible who whom they test, with a few exceptions set out by the NCAA. For example, you can be damn sure LSU isn't testing on Ash Wednesday. I know that sounds hypocritical, and I'm willing to own that. However, if you want to help a kid who is having issues with smoking up, may be testing him right before the biggest game of the season or immediately after he gets hurt isn't the best kind of help we can give.
  • We hurt our national perception by the announced suspensions. We are a laughing stock and media punch line. Publicity is an important part of the national game. No one is congratulation us for our tough policy. And it keeps giving Steve Spurrier too many opportunities to gig us, which pisses me off.
  • Our scheduling isn't helping us. If we continue to have a tough policy, we need to find a way to not open with Clemson ever again. I'm not a fan of this solution, as I think we should play more of these high profile games.
As I stated earlier, we aren't changing our policies under Coach Richt. We can give up on that. However, there are some things we can do to help ameliorate the issues we have while keeping our policy. 

By the way, this isn't a JHC shouldn't be on suspension post. I'm ok with the second test policy, which is a bit stronger than the other SEC schools, but close enough to be consistent. He should be suspended. And I hope his grandfather wore him out for lying to him and then letting him made a fool of himself in the press. 


Hey berto said...

It's the school just as much as Mark Richt.. and maybe even more. I'm with you that I admire the tough standard, and I'm fine with it if it's instituted across all of NCAA... but I'm pretty tired of seeing this happen to us at the most inopportune times.

paulwesterdawg said...

Just a few notes:
1. We don't put the names of our offenders in the public domain. Our message board "super fans" leak that crap. There's a poster on the DawgVent who the readers there adore for his "inside scoop." Part his nonsense is posting "we have a start defensive player who failed a drug test." Then Dasher and the other media members have to chase that lead. UGA *rarely* confirms a drug suspension. It's typically the kid's teammates and HS coach.

2. Our first offense policy is stupid. But if you get popped the second time, that's really on the kid now. Not our policy. JHC missing a game or 2 early on b/c he smoked weed last year...that's a WILDLY different thing than getting pinched as a draft eligible junior the 2nd time. even though the policy IS stupid....JHC's actions prioritized weed over his Draft Status, Future NFL earnings, and his teammates. I don't think he should be tossed from school for that. But it is what it is. He put his future and the team lower on the list than a joint. (NOTE: it's the same mental calculus that goes into getting a DUI as an adult. You prioritized that last beer or two over your employment, personal safety, etc.).

Our policy will never change. It has nothing to do with Richt. No coach would ever have this policy. Mike Adams blessed us with this and we're stuck with it forever because you can't unwind this thing.

Jim Carroll said...

I do not smoke cigarettes or weed; but the policy is STUPID in todays' world. We know that weed is not more dangerous than cancer causing cigarettes; however, cigarettes generate too much money and too many jobs for the government to do anything about them.
The University of Georgia is suppose to be an educational institution that provides leadership in social as well as academic matters, but they have their head in the ground. In 5 to 10 years , weed will be legal across the United States. Economics will be the driving factor. While this is going on, the University not only is providing NO leadership in this arena, they are trying to push a more their more severe policy on the rest of the SEC. How stupid can you be!
Again, I do not smoke it, but it seems obvious that UGA should re-look the policy in light of the todays climate.

ant123 said...

It is completely the players responsibility. If they cared about the
team, cared about playing they would not engage in any behavior that
would risk those two things. They just wouldn't. You can also know that
in most of these cases some one else connected to the team knew it was
happening. You would think that there would be enough players that do
care that they would keep the others in line. JHC should be kicked off
the team. He had a chance to prove he had learned from his mistakes. He
obviously doesn't give a rats ass about his playing time and more
importantly the team.

paulwesterdawg said...

I agree that our policy is stupid,and we're on the wrong side of the legislative trend. I also agree that Weed will be legal in Georgia if not nationally in 10-15 years.

That said....there is a rule. It's not a secret rule. JHC knew what the was. In fact, he even knew how the testing of the rule would work. And he still smoked weed again KNOWING that weed will cost you hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in draft stock. Not because NFL teams don't want pot smokers. It's because NFL teams don't want guys who lack the intelligence to understand causality or learn from object lessons.

Trey Tanner said...

If you think winning more football games is more important than trying to help kids stay off of drugs and Richt taking a stronger stance against it than someone like Saban who takes winning games more seriously then I feel sorry for you. A shame that people believe winning a football game should be more important than a coach choosing to care more about this players than wins.

paulwesterdawg said...

Trey - it isn't meth, crack or LSD. No need to make it so dramatic. I've never done drugs or even smoked a cigarette. But it's not lie weed really is a gateway drug. That's complete fiction.

I can't prove it, but I would wager that Richt would take a much less punitive drug policy for first offense violations in a heart beat as it relates to weed.

Jim Carroll said...

Paul, agree from a JHC perspective; however, if he was at LSU or Florida, we would not know about this.
UGA needs to remain competitive in all areas of it's pursuits. As this issue evolves, the 4-5 star prospects will move to choose a less restrictive policy at an institution that will still allow them to accomplish their goals.
UGA is not only on the wrong path they are aggressively pursuing one that is against public policy momentum.
It is all about leadership.

Trey Tanner said...

I agree completely there's a huge difference between the harmfulness of those different drugs, I just don't imagine any scenario where one has a different policy than the others, I wouldn't think anyway. And if he errors on the side of being too punishing I can't sit here and be upset with him about it. He has said and has actions to easily prove he cares more about them off the field than winning games, and I want to win as much as anyone, but I can't sit here and say we should be more like Saban or Spurrier. Of all the things that drive me nuts about Richt, this certainly won't be one of them. I DO agree it hurts us, and makes it harder for us to compete, I just don't think that's enough reason to let up on the policy.

Hayduke said...

We just legalized cannabis here in CO for recreational use on Jan 1. The world didn't end, there are not throngs of stoned zombies roaming the streets, and everything is pretty much the same as it was last Jan 1.

I mostly agree with your view PWD. I tend to view the whole "it's on the kids, they should know the rule" argument with less stringency though. I made plenty of mistakes during my time in Athens, so I guess I'm a little more sympathetic when kids screw up.

A couple of things to add to your well thought out reasoning concerning cannabis rules/testing that is usually overlooked in these discussions. Firstly, the urinalysis testing for cannabis is remarkably unfair because it tests for a fat-soluble metabolite of THC that remains in your system for up to 45 days. So your window of testing positive is huge compared to cocaine (1-3 days) and meth (1-4 days) or alcohol (6-12 hrs.). You can actually smoke cannabis, go in and take a urinalysis, and test negative because the metabolites tested for are not produced for 6-8 hours.

So I agree the rule is beyond stupid, and I also agree it's not likely to change. One thing about urinalysis testing that testing consortium doesn't want you to know, is how easy it is to beat these tests. I'm in a profession that gets tested regularly, and the vast majority of colleagues who choose to use cannabis are informed and will not ever fail a urinalysis. If you drink around a gallon of water, take a B100 (B-Vitamins) pill and a couple of grams of creatine prior to the test, you will never fail a urinalysis because you have diluted those metabolites to non-detectable levels. Simple. Back when I used cannabis frequently, I passed many tests this way.

Drug testing companies are charging billions annually to companies for a test that is basically a joke. So, for a stupid rule that's not likely to change, my suggestion is to educate our players on what to do if you get chosen for a urinalysis and you think you might test positive. Maybe a manual for incoming freshmen, the drug testing chapter would follow "the how to legally operate a scooter" and the "importance of having a current driver's license" chapters.

TylerDawgden said...

Thanks for pointing out about this starting with Adams. I intended to, but it didn't fit into the post the way my rant came out.

TylerDawgden said...

The policy isn't a deterrence. Clearly.

I don't want to win over helping kids stay off drugs. I'd be all for tougher uniform testing and penalties. And comprehensive counseling/rehab for guys that are having trouble.

There is a middle ground that helps players get (or stay) off the weed, we just are stuck with a policy that only penalizes.

Hunkering Hank said...

"If you drink around a gallon of water, take a B100 (B-Vitamins) pill and a couple of grams of creatine prior to the test, you will never fail a urinalysis because you have diluted those metabolites to non-detectable levels."

Holy shit. Somebody pass this on to the team.

Thomas Brown said...

Or, actually have scholarship football players who came here, respect their scholarship provided to them and respect their teammates, rather than wanting to tune-out.
Drugs make you want to do drugs, then in short while you want to do drugs. Where does all this money come from ? A grandfather you lie to to drive hundreds of miles to get enough money to cover it, saying you need it for expenses ? Or, lunch money is gone. Not sure where I spent it.
All this blog about Josh Harvey-Clemons ?
Really ?
He is our best defensive player.
He was suspended twice (2-times) for the 2013 season, once before it started and once at Thanksgiving.
Now, he is suspended again for 2014 to start next season.
There is no team in the United States of America who would allow this.

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