“It’s against the law. That’s the bottom line.”

On the surface, it sounds like Kirby Smart has come to terms with his inner Mark Richt on the subject of Georgia’s drug policy.

The first time Kirby Smart was asked about UGA’s stringent drug policy, the team’s new football coach merely said he understood it was in place and deferred to his administration. The next he was asked about it, he again toed the company line, saying he was a “team player.”

This time, when asked about it at SEC meetings, Smart’s answer was different. He sounded all in supporting the school’s rule.

“I’m completely in agreement with the policy we have in place at our place,” Smart said. “Different schools have different policies, but that’s beyond my control. What’s in my control is what we have in our place. And I accept that, and every player accepts that, and they’re told that from the very beginning.

Dig a little deeper, though, and it seems Kirby is doing all he can to keep a little wiggle room in play.

Receiver Riley Ridley and tailback Elijah Holyfield, both now sophomores, have each been arrested on misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession. That would, as specified in the UGA student-athlete handbook, bring a one-game suspension for a football player.

That said, Smart continued to not confirm absolutely that Ridley and Holyfield would be suspended.

“Well, we’re internally disciplining them, so it’ll come out in due time,” Smart said. “But those guys are both being disciplined internally.”

Smart, when asked whether that meant a one-game suspension, as specified in the handbook, did not elaborate.

“It’ll be handled internally,” Smart said, leaving it at that.

The opener is at home against Appalachian State, remember, so suspending the two wouldn’t be cataclysmic, at least if they’re the only two facing suspension at that time.  That makes following the playing status of those two all the more worthy of tracking.  Is it possible that the competitive disadvantage argument will force a subtle adjustment of the Georgia Way?  Stay tuned.

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17 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

17 responses to ““It’s against the law. That’s the bottom line.”

  1. Dawg in Austin

    You could argue that the adjustment has already been made, via our opening games for the next 4 years.

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    • Did I miss something? Has the opponent for the 2019 opener been named?

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      • Dawg in Austin

        I guess they could put Murray State right before the other cupcake but that makes less sense than staggering them. Putting Murray State before Tech could also work and align with Cupcake week in the conference. Just reading tea leaves, it seems like we aren’t trying to set up exciting week one matchups.

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  2. Go Dawgs!

    Mark Richt was the ultimate company man on rules and suspensions, but even he was able to get the suspensions for RingGate staggered so he didn’t have to do without all of the guys who sold their SEC Championship rings in the opener against Clemson in ’03. Granted, the SEC ring thing wasn’t a violation of a long-held (and long written-down) policy, but with the influence Kirby has been able to wield in his short time in Athens I wouldn’t be shocked if these guys weren’t able to wait to serve their suspensions against Samford in Game 3, to be honest. After all, App State shouldn’t be such a challenge that Georgia can’t get over them, but we need guys like Ridley to be in rhythm and ready to go when we hit the road to South Bend.

    That said, I WOULD be surprised if internal discipline was all that the guys get. I’m sure the coaches might be looking for some technicality about a charge getting dropped or something, but I’m certain that they’re going to be missing snaps. Just a matter of when.

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    • Granted, the SEC ring thing wasn’t a violation of a long-held (and long written-down) policy…

      It wasn’t a violation of any policy at all, which makes it a useless analogy.

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  3. PTC DAWG

    It will almost certainly be illegal for anyone under 21, in the eyes of Law Enforcement….

    I could see school penalties changing somewhat. I would be fine with the penalties now if the Faculty/Staff were tested randomly too, and penalties applied accordingly…10% of paid days…etc…

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  4. MGW

    This will all seem very quaint in about 10 years.

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  5. 92 grad

    Call me naive or gullible but I get the impression that Kirby is doing all he can to keep news/information about the players as private as possible. In other words, he doesn’t want the press to publish anything about the kids if it’s not about what they do on the field. I don’t get the impression he’s trying to hide things or circumvent rules, just trying to take privacy seriously. I’m no lawyer or journalist so I don’t know where the line is with regard to what information the public has a right to know. I don’t feel that I have a right to know what penalties are levied against the players by the university athletic dept.

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    • Even to the extent it involves game suspension?

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    • W Cobb Dawg

      “I don’t get the impression he’s trying to hide things or circumvent rules, just trying to take privacy seriously.”

      I’d like to think Kirby feels the need to support his player’s unalienable rights, rather than some secretive privacy angle. We all can point to examples of player’s rights being trampled over the past decade or more. Yet we didn’t hear a peep of objection from school reps and particularly from our former HC. They were more apt to assume a supine position than come to the defense of the players.

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  6. southernlawyer11

    So tired of marijuana stories if we’re not going to debate the SUBSTANCE AND NEED for the rule (or the law for that matter). And I’m not pointing at you Senator, I mean the general press and most message boards.

    I get that “the law’s the law.” We’ve established that 3 or 4 times a year for the past 10-12 years or so. What I want to know is why we are fighting this straw man of a monster ? I’m ready to intelligently debate this thing and understand WHY we have these laws and rules. I’m cool with coaches outlawing it because they think it may make you lazy or weak. Fine, whatever. If that’s the case, I’m ok with that. What I’m tired of is a bunch of old white dudes from a different era officially proscribing something for which they probably have no clue WTF they are talking about. A perfect example of the lunacy of what I’m talking about is the fact that we have a young man on our team who, by all indicators, appears to have an opioid addiction brought on by pain treatment. Of course, that’s a 1 way ticket to heroin abuse and death as we are seeing more and more of everyday. Meanwhile, there are experts out there who believe marijuana could be the solution to the hemorrhaging opioid crisis in America……..BUT, a bunch of people who look like Greg McGarity say its bad. So its bad.

    Sorry for the rant. Just sick of this BS.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Well said..

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    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Completely agree, but more than just “the law’s the law” is that we have decided to do things in addition to what the law does. They go to court and get penalized and then we add on to that. It seems unbalanced to me.

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    • Hodgie

      So, the argument is that smoking pot will decrease heroin addiction? Or is it decreasing prescribed opioids?

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    • Debby Balcer

      The reaction the player who are referring to without naming can be caused by using the medicine properly. No need to suggest addiction problems when it has not been medically confirmed. You can state your position without gossiping.

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