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Could UGA’s marijuana policy change under Kirby Smart?

Cy Brown

Welcome to your one-stop shop for all the relevant UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday.

How will Smart enforce Georgia’s drug policy against arrested receiver?

Rising sophomore wideout Riley Ridley was arrested in Athens over the weekend for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, a misdemeanor. Which, I think most folks these days — but, of course, not all — don’t see it as that big a deal. He’s a college kid doing the kind of stuff college kids do. Whatever.

Regardless of your or my personal beliefs about marijuana, UGA athletics has a clearly written policy for athletes arrested for possession or testing positive for it. According to the UGA student-athlete handbook, the guidelines for punishment for a first offense drug violation is “no less than 10 percent of the total sport season.” For football, that’s one game.

This is of note because it’s the first real time coach Kirby Smart will be tasked with deciding whether to suspend a player for getting caught with weed for the first time. (Chauncey Rivers was kicked off the team by Smart following a third arrest — the first two coming under former coach Mark Richt.) The one comparable instance is from this fall before the Florida game when Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick were investigated by police on suspicion of possession, but no arrests were made. In that situation, there obviously could be no suspension because there was no arrest or anything. Being investigated isn’t a crime.

This time, Smart has to make a decision. And the only reason this is up for any debate is because of his attempts to “Alabamify” the Georgia program. From the direction of the defense to the size of the support staff to his relationship with the media, Smart has taken most of his cues from Nick Saban, who tends to handle matters internally, i.e. not suspending players. Bama’s student-athlete handbook even words its policy to give more wiggle room, saying it administers “an addiction treatment method, and not simply a punishment-based method.”

As of now, I expect a one-game suspension for Ridley, as per the guidelines. The key word there is “guidelines,” though. That word is used for this very instance so a coach can be the arbiter of punishment when he or she thinks it’s not a big deal (or if that player is too important to the team). Smart has not shied away from changing rules before and on a much larger and more important scale. We’ll wait and see how this plays out.

NIT-bound Dawgs

Everyone got their hopes up at the end, but Georgia hoops met the fate it was destined for since its out-of-conference losses early in the season. The Bulldogs fell to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, leaving them no hope to make the NCAA Tournament. Instead, they made the NIT as a No. 2 seed.

If you want to know the biggest reason Georgia didn’t make the tournament, Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald pointed it out on Sunday:

To put it bluntly, Georgia was bad against good teams. And it’s difficult to make a case for a team that proved it was bad against good teams to play in a tournament full of them. Georgia was relatively on the bubble with all of those losses. You can imagine a world where Georgia gets two three wins out of those 10 losses and makes the field of 68. That is not the world we live in.

“Obviously, the top 25, top 50 wins is an area of this team, we didn’t get that box checked,” said Georgia coach Mark Fox, according to Seth Emerson.

Georgia plays Belmont in the NIT on Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

Great showing for UGA track at indoor championships

UGA track and field put together its best-ever combined finish at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in College Station, Texas, on Saturday. The Lady Dogs matched their best-ever finish (1996) by coming in second with 51 points to first-place Oregon’s 84 points. The men blew away their record sixth-place finish of 24 points with a four-place showing that totaled 35.5 points.

Around campus

Gymdogs defeat Utah in final meet of the regular season

Diamond Dogs go 1-2 against Rider, win final game of series

UGA softball 5-0 for the weekend, including combined no-hitter vs. Delaware State

Men’s tennis beats Ole Miss, Arkansas

Women’s tennis beats Alabama, Auburn

ICYMI

Good dog

I think it’s still sliding.

Truckee's 200 foot slide ???⬇️❗️To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email licensing@storyful.com

Posted by Chris Child on Thursday, March 9, 2017