Ever heard of synthetic marijuana? How about K2? Or Spice?
You can bet Les Miles has. That substance is reportedly the reason his team will face Auburn shorthanded on Saturday, possibly derailing next Saturday’s dream matchup of unbeatens with Alabama.
While LSU’s coach refused to even confirm the suspensions of Tyrann Mathieu, Spencer Ware and Tharold Simon last evening, Jim Kleinpeter of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that sources said all three sophomores tested positive for synthetic marijuana.
According to a 2010 ABC News report, synthetic marijuana “is a mixture of common herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana.” In many areas, the substance is legal because it is marked as being “not for human consumption.” Synthetic marijuana is illegal in Louisiana.
Survey results released earlier this month suggest that synthetic weed is “popular among consumers because they are seldom detectable on standard workplace drug screens.”
Apparently LSU doesn’t use the standard, run of the mill, workplace drug screening program. Much to the surprise of Mathieu, Ware and Simon.
For those who enjoy their Miles-isms, here’s a sampling of what he said yesterday when asked if his players had been suspended:
“No, cannot confirm that… I certainly understand the interest surrounding what seems to be news. The problem with that news is it’s internal discipline and internal function of a team. I’m not inclined to be forthcoming in information. I am not reactionary to needs of media and things external to this building. When there’s information that I can share, I will…
So, that being said, there’s a process that I go through, and it’s not going to be short-cutted for the need to communicate.”
When might that information become available? “It’s something I review fully and I’m going to do it as I’ve always done it.”
Were there failed drug tests involving any of his players? “I think you’re way left of center. Wherever you got those reports, I haven’t confirmed them, I’m not going to confirm them, and it’s not information I’m going to respond to.”
Is Miles disappointed yet another off-field issue has popped up? “I think the issues of society today (are) heaped full of temptation and distraction. Frankly, it doesn’t surprise me in any way what’s presented to our team.”
Can his team handle this distraction? “This football team might well understand what a distraction is. I don’t know that I’ve seen a change in their get along. I think they understand what they need to do.”
After saying that all of his players practiced yesterday and that his depth chart “hasn’t changed,” Miles said: “I expect that my team will take the field ably manned and ready to play at all positions. If we miss guys we’ll promote from behind. I don’t think speculation serves our team at this point.”
At this point, there are questions about who is suspended, for what reasons and for how long. Sources have told multiple media outlets that three players have been suspended for the Auburn game for testing positive for synthetic marijuana. But Miles confirmed none of that and suggested that the drug talk was “way left of center.” But that’s probably because coaches typically choose not to discuss drug issues due to HIPAA rules protecting the privacy of players.
According to an AOL Fanhouse investigation last December, LSU’s drug policy is in the lower end of the SEC pack in terms of stiffness.
A first failed drug test brings no action. A second strike calls for a suspension of 15% of the school’s games. A third strike results in a one-year suspension.
However, Miles could have suspended the players after a failed test on his own. If not, then it appears these players have tested positive before. That means they’ll likely miss the Alabama game as well, depending on how that 15% rule is interpreted. Fifteen percent of a 12-game season would equal two games. Fifteen percent of LSU’s remaining six regular season games would result in just a one-game benching.
(This is yet another reason we believe the SEC needs a universal drug policy for all member institutions.)
We’ll allow John DeShazier of The New Orleans Times-Picayune to sum this one up:
“Opponents haven’t been an issue for LSU this season. The Tigers themselves, though, have been another foe altogether.”