ATHENS — Georgia linebackers Robert Beal and Brenton Cox will likely miss at least the first game of the season due to their recent run-ins with law enforcement.
Beal and Cox were each arrested and charged for misdemeanor possession of marijuana this past Tuesday, just a short time before the Bulldogs took the field for practice number 7 of the spring session. Police found small amounts of the illegal drug in different areas throughout the players’ suite in the Rooker Hall Dormitory on East Campus. They were called there after a resident assistant spotted the marijuana during a maintenance call.
Possessing marijuana is a violation of the Bulldogs’ written student-athlete policy regarding substance abuse. According to the 2018-19 handbook, distributed to all athletes at the beginning of the school year, a first violation for “consumption, use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs” triggers the following actions:
- Alcohol and drug awareness classes;
- 12 months probation;
- mandatory drug-testing;
- abuse counseling and evaluation;
- “suspension from competition for no less than 10 percent of the total sport season.”
Traditionally, Georgia football has interpreted 10 percent of its 12 games to mean one. The Bulldogs, expected to be a Top 5 team in 2019, open the season on the road against Vanderbilt on Aug. 31.
Because the arrest took place in a campus dorm, Beal and Cox are also subject to UGA student-judiciary action. Both players were held out of practice Thursday but were working out separately in the indoor athletic facility.
While the suspension will get the attention of fans, it’s designed to get the attention of the student-athletes. Regardless of an individual’s sensibilities about marijuana, it remains an illegal substance in the state of Georgia and on the UGA campus. It is also on the NCAA’s list of banned substances.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who was not available for interviews on Thursday, drew attention to those basic facts when he addressed the two players’ arrests this past Tuesday.
“It’s, A, against the law,” Smart said. “It’s against the NCAA rules and every player on this team knows that and understands that.”
They also understand the rules in the student-athlete handbook. All athletes are required to sign for it and submit to the policies therein.
Beal and Cox represented the fifth and sixth arrests of Georgia football players this year.