This is your program on drugs.

Surprise, surprise.  Georgia’s holy quest to rid the college football world of uneven treatment of drug issues winds up a complete and utter failure.

There were many issues discussed the first three days of SEC meetings this week. A uniform drug policy for the SEC was not one of them.

“Never came up,” Richt said as he prepared to go home Wednesday afternoon.

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity was asked if it was a dead issue.

“Yes,” he said.

Georgia president Jere Morehead vowed last year to push the issue with his counterparts at a meeting last fall. But evidently he got nowhere, just as McGarity, Richt and others did last summer at SEC meetings.

And so Georgia officially presses onward, perhaps the only SEC school to test and suspend players for a first-time marijuana offense. It has caused a key player to miss the season opener (and sometimes more) for at least three straight seasons, and receiver Justin Scott-Wesley, arrested last year for marijuana possession, should make it four when Georgia hosts Clemson in August.

Meanwhile, marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and Washington, and many of Georgia’s opponents either don’t test players often or don’t penalize them for a first offense.

Shocking, I know.  But Richt isn’t wavering.

“I’ve never pursued anything,” he said. “I think people have asked me, ‘Would it make sense for everybody to be under the same guidelines?’ Yeah it would. But I’ve never sat there and said, ‘Hey we need to do this.’ I’m not going to the A.D. or the presidents and saying, ‘Hey we need to change this.’

“I love our guys, and I don’t want them to do drugs. And we’ve got a stiff policy because I love them. If it costs a guy some playing time, but it saves them a whole lot of hell and grief down the road, then I’m willing to make that trade off.”

I actually find that admirable in a sense.  Whether you agree with him or not, Richt is doing what he thinks is the right thing, regardless of what the policies are at competing programs.  It’s just that Georgia needs to be smarter in factoring the consequences of that stance when it comes to structuring a schedule.

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32 Comments

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32 responses to “This is your program on drugs.

  1. TennesseeDawg

    After watching the documentary “Reefer Madness”, UGA official knew they had to take a hard stance before someone slipped into madness

  2. Macallanlover

    No, it isn’t Richt’s job to be the one pushing for standardization, it is McFrugal’s role. And, as usual, he is fumbling the ball. Along with the Prez. This involves all UGA athletics, Richt will run his team as he feels it should be run but the school administrator’s should be vocal and persistent.

    Not only is it unfair to UGA to compete against programs who excuse what we suspend for, it is wrong to not take a strong stand on something you feel strongly about. It doesn’t matter if you have the votes or not, cowering in the corner hasn’t swayed anyone that I can see….raise the issue in discussions with the media and paint the other turds brown. Make them publicly defend ignoring the problems just to get Ws, or vocally support changing the drug and alcohol laws in the country. Together, FU and UGA could make this a big issue, and should. Let’s get everyone on the record about how they are “teaching” their young athletes about laws, discipline, and what is important in life.

      • Macallanlover

        You will never see me go that bat-shit crazy, but standardizing rules for competitors doesn’t seem to much to ask. “Come Together”, right now! I see enough diversity problems (daily) without seeing it exemplified this way on the field of play. Programs playing it straight should take the high road on this one.

      • Mayor

        You guys are making light of it but Mac’s right on this. If we are not going to change our policy, Georgia and FU need to publicly embarrass the rest of the conference and, for that matter, other teams (Clemson, FSU) for condoning the same conduct that Georgia and FU punish for. As it stands now Georgia is in the position of placing itself at a decided disadvantage in earlt season games. I don’t get CMR on this. Why isn’t making the violator run until his tongue hangs out and maybe perform some menial tasks like picking up and laundering all the dirty jocks after practice sufficient punishment? Why is it necessary to punish the whole team, the fans and the students by suspending a key player from a game and, logically, causing the team to lose? The policy now in place is insane–like an awful lot of other things in the UGA football program have been under CMR.

    • Bob

      What has Florida done that I am missing? Did they strengthen their position on first time use? I thought Kentucky was the only school with similar policies.

      You are right…it ain’t Richt’s job to do this at all. Damn, I am beginning to think the hiring of McGarity may have been one of the all time bad decisions in Athens. I can’t think of a single positive thing to say about his reign, unless signing up for fresh twinkies every year is considered positive.

    • PTC DAWG

      Maybe, just maybe, not everyone sees smoking a little pot a huge problem.

      Our Admin has taken a stance that is unnecessary and just might not be in lockstep with society.

      • Gravidy

        I’m not saying this to be snarky, nor do I mean it to be applied to this specific situation, necessarily. But, in general, when I find myself in lockstep with society, I take that as evidence that I may need to re-examine my position.

    • Dubyadee

      I think the Georgia’s stance is stupid and out of touch, and I don’t think that it is as helpful to the players as some like to believe. But, I find your argument compelling. If our schoolmarm leadership believes in it so strongly, they need to stand up for it publicly. Most importantly, this is not, and should not be, Richt’s battle to fight.

    • No, it isn’t Richt’s job to be the one pushing for standardization, it is McFrugal’s role. And, as usual, he is fumbling the ball.

      Agree on both counts.
      ~~~

  3. 69Dawg

    UGA shooting off it’s own foot one toe at a time. Hey, but I’m still surprised they stopped having curfews for women students. We are so 60′s.

  4. sectionzalum

    Given what an absolute jackass Pres. Adams was, it’s an absolute miracle we were able to hire someone of Richt’s character.

    • Bulldog Joe

      Adams’ vanity and self-interest started these self-destructive policies and no one in the current university or athletic administration has the guts to speak up and end them.

      As every other program knows, there are better ways to deal with the issue than giving the player the week off and giving the player and the program a perp walk through the press.

      • Adams’ vanity and self-interest started these self-destructive policies …

        You know Joe, I don’t remember that way. But it’s a given everywhere that Adams instituted the policy. So I’m not just replying to you, but just about everybody.

        The way I remember it, is Richt instituted the policy when he arrived. Same thing with arrests of different kinds, which Richt dealt with in a case-by-case basis, sometimes resulting in suspensions.

        Maybe I’m totally wrong, but that’s just the way I recall it. I don’t recall any such policy under Donnan, where drug use was more widespread, if not rampant. Having been there myself, Donnan’s regime was very different in its policies and standards than Richt’s.

        Maybe somebody could clear this up, because it’s common knowledge, among media as well, that Adams was the genesis behind the drug policy (which he did support, of course) and not Richt himself. I’m no apologist for Adams, I don’t think any more of him than you guys do, just want to know how it actually happened.

        FWIW, I support Richt on this and always have. And I think his stance about not being active about it is right.

        If there’s no interest, then it would be a political nightmare for Richt to take the lead on this. The public would create a giant straw-man Richt and they would never know what’s really behind it all. We know Richt and understand him, and I don’t want him to become the Bert Dilemma of the East. And this would probably be much worse than that.
        ~~~

        • It’s a school-wide policy, not just for the football program. Adams gets the credit/blame for implementation.

          • Understand. But was Adams the genesis of the policy? That’s what I’d like to know, because I remember it being Richt. Adams/Dooley/Evans just took it, tweaked it slightly from there, and implemented it school-wide (I think).
            ~~~

        • Bulldog Joe

          Ivey,

          Here’s a good read on the topic:

          http://www.dawgsonline.com/2012/04/04/how-we-got-here-the-origins-of-georgias-tough-drug-policy

          For the record, I support consequences for drug use within the team.

          However, I do not support giving the player time off for it and parading a first time offense through the local and national press. It unnecessary harms the school’s reputation, harms the program’s recruiting and on-field performance, and lessens the opportunity for the player to immediately help himself and the team through additional conditioning work and study time.

          This is the approach taken by the majority of athletic programs and I believe it would better suit our situation. However, Jere, Greg, and Coach Richt believe the current approach works better.

          • I do not support giving the player time off for it and parading a first time offense through the local and national press. It unnecessary harms the school’s reputation, harms the program’s recruiting and on-field performance, and lessens the opportunity for the player to immediately help himself and the team through additional conditioning work and study time … This is the approach taken by the majority of athletic programs and I believe it would better suit our situation.

            You certainly have a point. I’m not saying anything against that.

            Here’s a good read on the topic:
            http://www.dawgsonline.com/2012/04/04/how-we-got-here-the-origins-of-georgias-tough-drug-policy

            That answers the question then. If it began in 2006 with Adams, then it WAS Richt who basically created the rule. Because he implemented it in 2001 when he arrived.

            Thanks, Joe.
            ~~~

  5. JN

    “It’s just that Georgia needs to be smarter in factoring the consequences of that stance when it comes to structuring a schedule.

    EXACTLY

  6. Bulldog Joe

    No one outside the university will save Georgia from themselves.

    Nor should they.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      Georgia cannot be saved…from Georgia.

      • I’m not so sure. Granted, we have been beating ourselves (on the field) for the last 8-9 years. But that just might be changing. It’s possible, IMHO, for Georgia to achieve without the political support that it should inherently have.

        I’m saying we can reach our goals despite ourselves. Richt has enough autonomy to get that done. And THAT, if maintained, can change the whole thing, and get it into proper balance again.

        Assuming, of course, that the AD doesn’t screw it all up.
        ~~~

  7. wnc dawg

    I could not disagree with Richt more on his stance about weed and alcohol, but I really do respect his commitment to his view.

    Even though I come down exactly opposite on the risk about it, I also admire that UGA’s policy is just as harsh for alcohol for minors as it is for weed. The consistency should be recognized b/c it is rare an organization will put the substances on equal footing.

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    While I understand CMR is only responsible for UGA players, saying he won’t speak up for equal rules for all schools is a cop out. He’s the dean of sec coaches and IF HE REALLY BELIEVES OUR POLICY IS BEST FOR PLAYERS, he should say so both publicly and privately at the sec meetings. What’s also not right for our players is the double standard that exists now.

  9. CannonDawg

    “Richt is doing what he thinks is the right thing.”

    My God, what is happening to our country??? A leader actually doing what he thinks is right? I’m shocked, SHOCKED!

    Gotta be Bush’s fault . . . or something. :)

  10. South FL Dawg

    I don’t understand how it is for the benefit of the players if they can’t even tell somebody they have a thing for smoking weed without losing playing time. I’m not against punishment of some kind but where is the incentive for the players to speak to you? Either Richt has strange parenting methods or he is sticking to the party line…I’m guessing the latter.

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