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.