Groo ponders Michael Elkon’s “unilateral disarmament” post about Georgia’s drug policy and takes it back to its roots… which is to say, Michael Adams and public opinion.
I only want to make one point in response, and it’s not to say whether the policy is good, bad or indifferent. But it seems to me that this fact is significant:
In fact, some of the first student-athletes facing serious discipline for drug or alcohol-related incidents ran afoul not of any football team policy but mandatory University policies (see: Akeem Hebron).
This has never been Mark Richt’s shot to call (outside of calibrating whether 10% of the season means one or two games). It’s a top down deal. He’s little more than the faithful soldier following orders. Expecting him to take a forceful stab at changing the policy is naïve. That simply isn’t how things roll at Georgia.
And I think you can put dreams of a uniform SEC policy in the same boat. This is obviously something which matters to Michael Adams. How realistic is it to expect him to agree to water down what he’s implemented? About as realistic as it is to expect Nick Saban or Will Muschamp – Florida’s drug policy rules are a complete joke – to agree for their schools to move much in Adams’ direction.
So you might as well live with it, Dawgnation. Mark Richt is.
UPDATE: Michael goes through Groo’s post and concludes, like I do, that Georgia’s drug policy is more about Michael Adams than it is about Richt and McGarity. That being said, I’m not sure I buy his conclusion, at least not in its entirety.
… As a result, UGA can select from better qualified students, a trend that will only increase as college tuition rises and the advantages of sending kids to in-state schools increases. Thus, UGA should be going in a different direction as compared to most of the conference. UGA should be aspiring to become like UVA and UNC: an academically prestigious school that doesn’t need to rely on the football team or the nightlife as its calling cards. That puts Georgia in a different place than the rest of the conference, save for Vandy and Florida (and I suppose now Missouri). The strict drug policy is one vestige of that difference and it might not be a bad thing. In retrospect, my initial post suffered from the flaw of just viewing UGA through a football prism without accounting for the fact that there is more going on there. Michael Adams would like for me to think differently.
As an explanation for Michael Adams’ thought process behind the implementation of the policy, that makes some sense. The problem, though, is that, if accurate, Adams’ assumptions don’t jibe with reality.
For example, Florida is an academic peer of Georgia, yet its substance abuse policy is the polar opposite of our school’s. I haven’t noticed that’s had a dramatic impact on Florida’s academic prestige. (Regarding how it’s impacted the football team’s performance I’ll leave for you to decide.) As for the academic elites and the nightlife, well, I’m a proud UVa alum and the idea that students up there didn’t party as hard because of the school’s academic reputation would come as a big surprise to most people I knew there. Nor did I notice a step up in class in that department when I left Charlottesville for Athens. (Although I suppose it’s possible that’s changed in the thirty years since I’ve been a student.)
I’m left with the conclusion that Georgia is stuck with a policy which can be categorized as an overreaction by (in this case) a well-meaning school president.