DESTIN, Fla. — The first time Kirby Smart was asked about UGA’s stringent drug policy, the team’s new football coach merely said he understood it was in place and deferred to his administration. The next he was asked about it, he again toed the company line, saying he was a “team player.”
This time, when asked about it at SEC meetings, Smart’s answer was different. He sounded all in supporting the school’s rule.
“I’m completely in agreement with the policy we have in place at our place,” Smart said. “Different schools have different policies, but that’s beyond my control. What’s in my control is what we have in our place. And I accept that, and every player accepts that, and they’re told that from the very beginning.
“It’s against the law. That’s the bottom line.”
UGA continues to have among, if not the, toughest policies in the conference and the country, suspending athletes for a first offense for marijuana. Two Georgia football players are facing that suspension after marijuana arrests this year.
That has created a competitive disadvantage for Georgia over the years, and doesn’t appear to be changing. There’s been no buzz about a uniform drug policy at these meetings, and there hasn’t been for a long time. But Smart didn’t express any worry about it.
Receiver Riley Ridley and tailback Elijah Holyfield, both now sophomores, have each been arrested on misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession. That would, as specified in the UGA student-athlete handbook, bring a one-game suspension for a football player.
That said, Smart continued to not confirm absolutely that Ridley and Holyfield would be suspended.
“Well, we’re internally disciplining them, so it’ll come out in due time,” Smart said. “But those guys are both being disciplined internally.”
Smart, when asked whether that meant a one-game suspension, as specified in the handbook, did not elaborate.
“It’ll be handled internally,” Smart said, leaving it at that.