Georgia could be without starting safety Josh Harvey-Clemons when the Dawgs open their season at Clemson on August 31st. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the sophomore-to-be “was implicated in an incident involving marijuana in a UGA dorm room on May 15.”
Also involved in that incident was tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith who was arrested in a separate incident in February. Just last week, Mark Richt encouraged Flournoy-Smith to transfer to a junior college.
On the 15th, UGA campus police were called to a residence hall by an RA who smelled marijuana emanating from a dorm room. Police found Harvey-Clemons and Flournoy-Smith inside. No wacky weed was found in the room, but the police report said the players “exhibited signs of marijuana ingestion” and that one of the players admitted that the pair had “smoked a blunt.”
Georgia’s drug policy — which is one of the toughest in the SEC — calls for a first-time offender to be suspended for 10% of his team’s competitions. In this case, neither player was arrested, but the issue was reported and documented. Therefore, it’s likely Harvey-Clemons will miss at least one game for choosing to smoke that blunt.
We at MrSEC.com have been calling for the SEC to adopt a uniform drug policy since 2010. The league’s 14 schools currently have different policies ranging from very strict to ridiculously lenient and — at some point — those differences provide a competitive advantage for schools that look the other way more often.
To date, the SEC’s leaders have said that they don’t want to give the league office the power to rule on their athletes’ drug violations. It’s time for Mike Slive — as in this week during the SEC meetings — to convince the conference’s presidents that a universal plan is in the SEC’s best interest.
SEC revenue is set to boom with the advent of the new College Football Playoff, the new SEC Network, and the new Sugar Bowl. More than ever, the SEC can afford to hire one company to handle all testing, administering the same number and the same types of tests to each and every school.
The schools would have to be trusted to report all drug violations to the league office, of course. But assuming they would do so, the league would then hand down a ruling based on a predetermined set of penalties for failed tests or drug-related arrests. For example:
First-offense: No penalty, enter counseling program
Second-offense: Miss 10% of games
Third-offense: Miss 50% of games
Fourth-offense: Permanent dismissal
Based upon SEC schools’ existing policies, some would no doubt say our example is too tough while others would say it’s way too easy. Either way, such a policy would play the same for everyone and that should be the goal.
Here’s hoping Harvey-Clemons’ decision to spark up a joint two weeks ago will help spark some conversation about a uniform drug policy during the SEC’s meetings this week.