Should Florida Change Its Drug Policy?

Whether or not you agree with marijuana's current legal status, possession and use of it is against the law. As we have found out recently, the Gators don't seem to care, or they at least don't know how to not get caught. As brought up first by Bud Elliott of Tomahawk Nation fame (which of course piqued my interest) in the comment section here, the Gators do in fact have one of the most lenient drug policies in the NCAA. 

Remember around this time last year, when it came to light that former Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez had failed multiple drug tests during his time at UF? He of course denied those allegations, admitted he failed one and moved on to the NFL. The report (whether you believe the Boston Globe or Hernandez) led to him being passed over for many rounds so take it for what it is worth.

It wasn't too long after the Aaron Hernandez report came out, that former corner-back Wondy Pierre-Louis acknowledged that 75% of the 2006 BCS National Championship team smoked marijuana. Again, take that information as you wish.

So what does the Florida drug policy currently look like?

Well, here's the full complement of SEC drug policy stipulations, courtesy of MrSEC.com. (Note: most of the schools require counseling after 1st strike.)

School
1st Strike
2nd Strike
3rd Strike
4th Strike
5th Strike
Alabama
None
15% of games
One year
Dismissal

Arkansas
None
10% of games
50% of games
Dismissal

Auburn
None
50% of games
Dismissal


Florida
None
10% of games
20% of games
50% of games
Dismissal
Georgia
10% of games
50% of games
Dismissal


Kentucky
10% of games
50% of games
Dismissal


LSU
None
15% of games
One Year


Ole Miss
None
None
Three games


Miss. State
None
50% of games
One Year
Dismissal

S. Carolina
None
25% of games
Dismissal


Tennessee
None
10% of games
Dismissal

 

Now, I don't know how this looks to you, but personally, I think it looks really bad. A 5th strike policy isn't really anything to be proud about. But I'm not going to suggest that the Gators change their policy to match Kentucky or Georgia just to save face.

The good folks over at Dawg Sports last December suggested that there should be some sort of NCAA-wide drug policy. That was suggested in part because Georgia (as shown above) has a very strict policy and, in theory, that current policy could end up harming Georgia more than, say, Florida's current policy would. They call it a "competitive disadvantage." I tend to agree.

Of course, they could have just been upset that they won the most recent Fulmer Cup.

What about a drug policy that is just SEC-wide? Well, MrSEC.com in that same article nonetheless says this:

(It’s) unlikely to happen.  The SEC office has enough to worry about without trying to handle drug testing for 12 different member institutions.  A universal drug policy would likely require too much time, effort and manpower from the folks in Birmingham.  And the commissioner probably doesn’t want to spend his day studying someone’s urinalysis results.

I agree with that assessment as well.

I think it is going to be up to the University of Florida and the University of Florida alone, when it decides that enough is enough, to come up with what I believe to be necessary changes to their current drug policy. Personally, I'd be okay with something like Mississippi State's current policy for a year or two as a "phase in" type of deal and then implement something similar to a policy like Auburn currently has in place.

After all, hasn't it always been three strikes and you're out?

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