By now I'm sure that most everyone had a chance to check out the NC State players that were arrested for being in the apartment with marijuana and the drug paraphernalia and I'm sure that everyone has their own take on it. Personally I'm a "nothing to see here" type guy when it comes to college kids and marijuana. After spending so much time in a college locker room, visiting other schools and hanging out with athletes et cetera I am not "wowed" by routine instances such as this case
Upon reading the details, looking at the charges and understanding that only citations would be issued my mind immediately turned toward what Tom O'Brien, the MARINE, would do as punishment for his players partaking in the ganja. Mike Thomas, a sports radio host, columnist and former NC State football player, gave his take on the kids arrests making it clear that "college football players are held to a higher standard":
Do I believe these guys should be suspended or lose their scholarships? First of all, Sweezy is done. He was already suspended from the team. But what about the rest of the guys? It’s very difficult to place judgment without having all the information. Looking at the charges presented I would say, yes, a suspension for the season is warranted.
Generally I'm not big on responding to columns I find but this one struck me as quite odd. An obvious supporter of the school with access to all the necessary documents regarding the situation making such a grandiose statement in a very public outlet. A season? For pot? More specifically for six grams of pot? Seems incredibly extensive. True J.R. Sweezy, with his prior record could be dismissed from the squad because of said priors working in concert with this new charge.
For me a game would be the max suspension, there is no arrest, no history of negative behavior in the legal sense and remember that Carlos Dunlap from Florida was given a game suspension for a DUI, a charge for worse in terms of permanent record as well as danger to the community.
Now we get to my issue. Would standardizing punishment benefit not just these athletes from NC State but the college football world as a whole. Instead of three kids getting suspended a game for first offense misdemeanor marijuana charges while another kid is suspended set out a half of a game for the same offense would it behoove the game to level the playing field. No more "this coach is lenient" and "this coach is a hardass" but instead if you get a minor in possession (or MIP as the cool kids say) you know you're out for a quarter. Ring up your first DUI and you're gone for a game.
Bear in mind we're not discussing missing classes or failing team issued drug test rather this standardization is only referring to criminal offenses. Citations and arrests. Reasons that kids have to go to court. I fully believe in the team disciplining their own when it comes to events such as skipping class and I wouldn't want to touch a coaches ability to punish kids for breaking team rules.
However, why not standardize the punishments when it comes to the other game changers? On the conference level this would stop coaches from being handicapped due to heavy handed discipline. This checks and balances would be working to stop coaches from being lenient for big games, allowing offenses to go unaddressed and levels the playing field since kids at every school get into trouble.
This would also give the kids some sense of understanding. They would have an idea of what their offenses would garner in terms of punishment and would not be subjected to the whim of the coaching staff with regards to their playing time, scholarship or overall importance to the roster. Not only would this protect walk-ons and back ups from getting the axe when a star would get a wrist slap but it would also keep punishments uniform across the board.
Because honestly, a year for a weed misdemeanor that won't even end up on their record in the next calendar year? Just the idea that someone would trot that out is crazy.