No suspension for players? Welcome to new world at Georgia

September 24, 2016 Oxford, Miss: Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart runs pre-game warm ups with the intensity of a tied ballgame in the 4th quarter. Preparing to take on Ole Miss in Oxford Saturday September 24, 2016. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Georgia coach Kirby Smart said he is “a team player” when it comes to the school’s drug and alcohol policy. (Brant Sanderlin / bsanderlin@ajc.com)

ATHENS — Let’s not make this a referendum on whether marijuana should be legalized, nor whether Georgia should relax its rules on drug use in the student-athlete code of conduct. Both are complicated issues.

The question is whether something has officially — or at least unofficially — has changed in Athens. Two Georgia football players named in an incident report involving possible/probable/almost certain marijuana use in their dorm room last week following the Vanderbilt game were somewhat cleared Monday.

That’s right, neither Natrez Patrick nor Roquan Smith will be suspended for Saturday’s game against — tada! — Florida.

Welcome to the new world at Georgia under the new coach, Kirby Smart. Because while there is a little bit of a gray area involving the Patrick and Smith incident, the thought that neither player would have been suspended under former coach Mark Richt just doesn’t compute.

smokebuddyoriginal_limegreen_packaging

Among the items taken into evidence. (via Smokebuddy.com)

I’ll get to the specifics of last week’s incident shortly. But this was Smart’s response Monday when I asked him about Patrick and Smith being eligible this week, and perceptions that the school’s powerful football coach might exert considerable influence in situations like this.

On Patrick and Smith: “I’m happy for these two young men that they can move onto football and they don’t have to deal with the distraction. On the field, both of these young men have been exemplary and leaders, especially for sophomores.”

On Georgia’s policy and his role in these decisions: “I’m a team player when it comes to policy, and I believe in doing what the team theme is, which is what our athletic association has been so far. Do I think we live in a society that is a little different now than it was back whenever? Sure, I do. But I also believe in what we have and what we know and accept the rules that we’ve been charged with.”

OK, I call B.S. on that last statement. This is Smart’s team and Smart’s program and I’m not buying the, “I’m a team player” bit from him any more than I would buy it from Nick Saban.

That’s not me making a statement on the legalization of marijuana or Georgia’s policy, it’s simply my read on Smart’s belief in the policy and that he will do everything possible to circumvent it. Because he’s a football coach. Because he’s off the Saban tree. Because he’s determined to implement every facet of his agenda.

The Bulldogs are coming off a loss to Vanderbilt. They’re a 7 1/2-point underdog to Florida and losing the game would drop them to 2-4 in the SEC and 4-4 overall. To lose Patrick and Smith would weaken a defense in a game that Georgia needs in hopes of avoiding having its season jump the rails.

In Smart’s defense, sophomore defensive tackle Jonathan Ledbetter sat out the first six games of this season after multiple alcohol related arrests. (Smart never confirmed Ledbetter was suspended for six games but the player returned for Game 7 against Vanderbilt.) But the Ledbetter situation was more clearly defined than this one.

Neither Patrick nor Smith was officially charged or arrested. Neither failed a drug test (according to Georgia). But let’s look at some of the circumstances of what happened last Saturday night in room No. 422 at McWhorter Hall.

A residence assistant detected the smell of marijuana coming from Patrick’s and Smith’s room and contacted campus police. A UGA police officer wrote in his narrative, “I walked through the hall and detected a heavy odor of marijuana coming from room 422 as I passed. I kept walking to smell other entrances to other rooms but could no longer detect the odor of marijuana.”

(That visual of a police officer going door to door and smelling is not something I ever imagined “Joe Friday” doing. Anyway, moving on…)

The officer returned to the door of room No. 422 and heard Smith and Patrick talking. Then he knocked and, he wrote later, “The individuals inside went silent and did not respond to me. I continued to knock for about another 60 seconds before someone inside the room responded by saying, ‘One minute.'”

(Now what could the two players have possibly been doing during that time? Was any flushing sound heard?)

The two players opened the door about 30 seconds later. No marijuana was found. Patrick and Smith both denied smoking. But the smell of the drug lingered and among the things entered into evidence was a fake Arizona Ice Tea container with hidden compartment (see: Michael Vick’s fake water bottle in the Miami airport) and a “Green Smoke Buddy Exhaler,” a room deodorizer used to mask the smell of the drug.

The officer noticed a trash can with tobacco that had been removed from “Black and Mild” cigars. He also noticed towels that had been rolled up and stuffed against the crack under the doors.

I believe this constitutes strong circumstantial evidence. The only thing that would’ve made the case stronger is about 19 empty Nacho Cheese Doritos bags.

So yes, I believe Patrick and Smith are skating. There is precedence for Georgia suspending a player without a positive drug test. Josh Harvey-Clemons missed the first game of the 2013 season after he admitted that he he had smoked. But there was no admission by either player in this case. And so, both will play Saturday.

Welcome to the new world.

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311 comments
charlie0909
charlie0909

i am get close to 80 years old, drugs are part of my jurassic  time frame,but the today smoke weed. they do think it is a drug.i stop getting the ajc because of you.

Brad Bush
Brad Bush

AJC stop with the hate. Cleared? They were never charged

cspecial
cspecial

LEAVE COACH SMART ALONE.HES HAVING TO COMPETE WITH MARK RICHT"S TALENT.RICHT LEFT HIM PLAYERS WHO ARE NOT MENTALLY TOUGH, WANT TO BE BABIED AND QUITS WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH.GIVE HIM TIME TO GET HIS STYLE OF PLAYERS.HE WILL WEED OUT THE RICHTISM.SONY MICHEL,NICK CHUBB TYPE WHO ARE TALENTED BUT QUITS WHEN THE PRESSURE IS ON.SMART WILL BRING DAWG NATION BOTH SEC AND NATIONAL CHAMPOINSHIPS.JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE AND LET HIM DO HIS JOB.THIS ONLY HIS FIRST SEASON.GET THE RICHT OUT AND WE WILL BE ALRIGHT

OH:IO
OH:IO

5 or 6's and lil wally's new battle cry:


We're 52nd ! W're 52nd!


Georgia ranks 52nd in the nation. That’s behind Iowa, Kansas State, North Carolina State, Texas Tech, Northwestern, a 2-5 Oregon team, a 2-5 Notre Dame team, Temple, Toledo and, yes, Georgia Tech (47th). - Schultz

DGAD
DGAD

Looks like Kirby brought some Tuscaloosa policemen with him too.

dawg fan
dawg fan



UGA players getting away with smoking weed (even though they passed a drug test and the cops found no weed).  Now Sony Michel "guarantees" a victory over the Gators (even though that is not at all what he said in any shape or form).  Kirby has lost control!!! 



dawg fan
dawg fan

@OH:IO Seems you can't read and let reporters do your thinking for you.  Sony Michel did not guarantee anything other than a better effort than last year against Florida. The AJC is just trying to stir the pot with misleading headlines but then they wonder why Kirby restricts their "access." 

OH:IO
OH:IO

#dogsdopematters

Michelle Lynn
Michelle Lynn

Because no one should be in trouble for weed....

Bobby Reems
Bobby Reems

Who cares pot is everywhere I bet the teacher are smoking it to

walkthetalk60
walkthetalk60

...and welcome to the AJC... who conveniently left this news out of the newspaper!

walkthetalk60
walkthetalk60

and welcome to the AJC--- who conveniently left this news out of their newspapers

Railroadtracgang
Railroadtracgang

@bills68 Who really cares that much. Hey front page news! two college guys tried to get away with smoking weed!!!!

Johnathan Tatman
Johnathan Tatman

No charges filed and passed drug test... nothing to see here!

Heru Uzza
Heru Uzza

Mary Jane how I love to hear your name because you help me play the game

Stephen Lewis
Stephen Lewis

If that happened in the acc or any conference NCAA would get them

Nadia Lee
Nadia Lee

Oh whatever, almost no one really gets in trouble at these colleges for smoking weed unless you're caught with it and even then you'll probably just get fine or something. This coming from an RA...

TideDawg
TideDawg

I'm curious! Any word on Urban Meyers health? How about the family plan? Maybe that news will be delayed until after that 3rd loss.

TideDawg
TideDawg

In college football during a 2 week break, how many players do you think remain Saintly?? I'm not saying that I condone the behavior, just that 18-25 yr old players are going to do whatever the crowd dictates. And, the first offense is seldom the first offense, just the first time they got caught. When I was in High School one of our starters on the football team got caught drinking a beer and that was not during the season. His punishment....500 laps around the local  park where our head coach was the summer manager. The running area was about a half mile trip. The player had all summer to get it done before football practice started in the fall. I don't think Smart will advertise what the punishment will be(that's not good for recruiting).

Randy Osborn
Randy Osborn

They were not charged.. quit trying to make a story where there isn't one.

Zain Malik
Zain Malik

Football leagues should be looking into the possible benefits associated with cannabis, in relation to concussions, rather than busting players for partaking.

Brandon Matthew Jackson Sr.
Brandon Matthew Jackson Sr.

Has so many benefits man, if they not smoking it during the games then I see no problem with it but it is illegal in Georgia. Can't wait for it to be legal nationwide \U0001f601

Suzanne Kaulbach
Suzanne Kaulbach

Heard from my auntie's best friend's brother's 3rd cousin's wife...

Rhett Ephgrave
Rhett Ephgrave

Why Habeas Corpus Shouldn't Be Extended to Everybody: MY COLUMN

Kevin Shields
Kevin Shields

Habeas Corpus was and is being extended to them. While I agree they shouldn't be suspended, that only applies to them with the courts and legal issues, not playing football.

Eric Grant
Eric Grant

First of all, I know one of Natrez former high-school teachers and I grew up with Roquan's father, both of those young men are good kids. Secondly, there was no evidence. Nothing but the Cops and the RA saying they smelled weed. They didn't find any weed and the young men have not failed any drug test. This is a non issue, let it go.

North Georgia
North Georgia

Who cares.  White boys like beer and whisky.  Brothers like weed.  Its just a reality.  None of them (UGA or GT) has NASA wanting an interview in case football on Sunday does not work out.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Turkey neck's policy; just punch them in the face!

Boom Kirby. Learn from that guy.

When the PSU "community" ruins your dreams and exposes your pretender team do you A). Buddy up to a loser tech fan aka tonTO. B) Rage your obsesssion even more over all things UGA. C). Deflect all things funny about you losing to an "UN" and Vandy's coach on a blocked kick. D). All of the above?

#littlebuckychoseD

Jmonty
Jmonty

I, for one, am happy to see a coach willing to punish students for wrong doings.  CMR, sure didn't.  Or he'd hold the suspension against, some team like University of Southern Antarctica.  So, I applaud Smart for making them follow the line.  High time, UGA got a coach that was about morals.  

birdrow
birdrow

@Jmonty Uh.......Yeah....Great point.  Full of reality.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Jmonty

Richt ran plenty of them off--probably too many. That's pretty well documented.

Surprised to see this line of BS coming from you, Jm.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@Jmonty your wrong about that Richt would punish them immediately regardless of who UGA was playing and most of the time it was against a tough opponent

OH:IO
OH:IO

Buckeyes control their playoff destiny


dogs have already lived theirs.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Lol, no chance. Committee isn't going to take a team that loses to an "UN".

Always next year little bucky. Well, probably not but keep thinking it. tonTO suports you.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Did PSU just block another kick?

2016 ovah for the little ten bucky!

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

Good thanks. No odss needed after watching PSU embarrass you.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@OH:IO Really!! They couldn't even control un Penn State.