Three reasons why the Mitch McGary suspension is absurd

Today it was announced that University of Michigan center/ forward Mitch McGary was suspended one calendar year for failing a drug test.

As in 365 days. One FULL year.

The reason for his failed drug test? Marijuana.

That’s right, the very substance that has been deemed legal for recreational use by voters in two US states and legal for medical use in 20 others.

Clearly, nobody involved in the NCAA lives in any of these states, because they still feel that a year-long suspension in necessary for toking a little dope.

As someone who has been around a fair share of stoners, this rubbed me the wrong way in more ways than one. Sure, I didn’t spend a ton of time around athletes in my days at Michigan State University but I’ve been a collegiate athlete and know my fair share of them. More of them smoke pot than you probably think.

[Michigan Basketball: Outlook for 2014-15 season]

Did anyone care? It sure didn’t seem that way to me. However, NCAA president Mark Emmert, in his infinite wisdom, feels differently than most I suppose.

Emmert is wrong, and this rule will eventually change. In fact it already has- now the suspension is half a season. But that doesn’t help McGary because the rule was changed after he dropped dirty, and I have some beef with this.

McGary’s suspension doesn’t match the crime

michigan basketball

Mitch McGary (isportsweb)

What are the NCAA penalties for DUI? Prescription drug use? Burglary? I bet they aren’t more than a full year. I personally have never heard of any collegiate athlete being suspended for more than a year.

Hell, even Ryan Braun, who got busted for cheating and then subsequently lying about it, got suspended for less than a full season. McGary’s suspension matches that of public enemy #1, Alex Rodriguez. And A-Rod will still make about $2 mil this year.

Remember when Ron Artest jumped into the crowd and started punching fans? He got a year suspension, also matching McGary’s penalty.

It pays to cheat and beat up fans, but under no circumstances should anyone ever smoke pot! Heaven forbid!

Why the NCAA is not only wrong, but criminal

The NCAA is one and done

The NCAA does not hold regular drug tests during the regular season, instead leaving that to the individual teams. Had McGary failed a drug test during the regular season, he would have been suspended three games, per Michigan’s policy for testing positive for marijuana.

But during the NCAA tournament, the high and mighty organization feels it necessary to test, not just for PED’s, but for marijuana as well. And they leave no rock unturned- even injured players who don’t play get tested I guess.

How does the NCAA not have a standardized drug testing program throughout the year? Are they not making enough money to fund such a program? Yeah, I don’t think that’s the issue.

NBA Culture

Let’s face it: the NBA is no stranger to marijuana use. They have planned drug tests throughout the season that players know full well about, and have no offseason testing. Furthermore, a player must test positive three times for mary jane before being suspended at all in the NBA.

We’ve all heard the rumors about guys lighting up at halftime in the locker room, and I don’t think those rumors are crazy. The culture that many of these guys grew up with involved marijuana, among other drugs, and that is part of the NBA today.

I’m not condoning marijuana use, because it is still illegal in 48 states outside of medical use. But the facts are in, and many NBA players are using it. Why is it borderline accepted in the NBA, but at the NCAA level, it’s been deemed a death sentence? I don’t understand the disparity.

I hope that the NCAA will move into the 21st century on this issue and understand that times are changing. Marijuana is slowly moving toward legalization and it’s time for Mark Emmert and the other NCAA blue hairs to realize that.

Maybe this money hungry, corrupt organization will find out that it’s more profitable to keep their premier athletes in school as opposed to forcing them to the NBA.

I may not understand the NCAA, but I understand their thirst for cold hard cash.

Read more rumors, news and opinion on our Michigan basketball page

  • Rick

    Scott Peceny,
    In your opinion, what are the chances that he had failed previous drug tests that were swept under the rug? I mean, to me the Final 4 is an odd place to start smoking dope.

  • J & D Fuller

    Interesting read. Passionate. Mixed feelings. It would be if tremendous if athletes could be the super heroes people want them to be and, alas, they are human.