After a quiet spring, the jokes were out again yesterday when Mark Richt announced that Josh Harvey-Clemons would be suspended for Georgia’s season-opener against Clemson. The AJC is reporting that Harvey-Clemons was part of an incident involving marijuana in a UGA dorm on May 15.
Harvey-Clemons is a rising sophomore and projected a starter at one of the safety positions for the Bulldog defense this season. Not having him in the game against Clemson’s high-powered offense will be a huge blow to the team.
Yet, Mark Richt has never compromised on addressing discipline issues with his team and he says he never will. Despite having one of the strictest drug policies in the SEC, Richt is committed to making sure his players understand the consequences of their actions and he has the support of his athletic director, Greg McGarity.
At UGA, a player is suspended for one game if he tests positive for marijuana. Andy Staples of SI.com wrote a story last year about how UGA is one of only three programs in the SEC (Kentucky & Mississippi State) to suspend players after one positive drug test. Other programs like Florida, LSU, and Alabama aren’t nearly as strict on their policies.
Some Georgia fans think this is unfair and the SEC or NCAA should make a standard policy for all schools. It would make sense for everyone to be playing by the same rules, but I salute Richt and the UGA Athletic Department for playing by a higher standard when they don’t have to.
College students smoke marijuana. Many people that graduated from college smoke marijuana. And college athletes smoke marijuana. I lived in the same dorm complex where the incident with Josh Harvey-Clemons occurred and two of my roommates were arrested in our dorm for smoking marijuana. This isn’t going to change and these issues are going to continue to come up for the Georgia football program.
Fortunately, the program has two men in charge who understand they are responsible for more than winning football games.
As McGarity said an SI.com interview:
"Life is all about choices that people make, and what we're trying to do is impact someone not only for this four-year window that they're in our institution. We're also trying to create decisions that will last a lifetime."
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