A cloud of pot busts lingers over college football -- and the smoke isn't clearing
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN The Magazine
DAYS BEFORE the University of Georgia broke for spring break in March, athletic director Greg McGarity gathered more than 600 athletes and warned them about the consequences of consuming alcohol and illegal drugs.
Not everybody heard him.
Before the end of the month, police had arrested Bulldogs starting cornerback Branden Smith for misdemeanor marijuana possession and, according to multiple reports, All-America safety Bacarri Rambo tested positive for weed. (The school has not confirmed or denied the reports; according to Rambo's high school coach, he unknowingly ate pot-enhanced brownies.) Under the school's drug policy, Rambo, whom the school had previously suspended for a rules violation, could face a multigame suspension. Smith, a first-time offender, will miss at least the Sept. 1 opener.
The incidents highlight a trend in college football that has taken hold of the news cycle several times since the beginning of last season.
Most recently, on April 11, former Auburn running back Michael Dyer testified during an ex-teammate's trial on armed robbery charges that he consistently smoked synthetic marijuana while playing for the Tigers. Dyer was suspended for last season's bowl game and has transferred to Arkansas State.
In February, four football players were among 17 Texas Christian University students arrested in a campuswide drug sting. Linebacker Tanner Brock, safety Devin Johnson, offensive tackle Ty Horn and defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey are charged with delivering a quarter-ounce to five pounds of marijuana to undercover agents. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram also reported that five TCU players tested positive for marijuana and another 11 had trace amounts within the margin of error after a Feb. 1 test.