So What if College Football Players Like to Smoke A Little Weed in the SEC?

By M. Shannon Smallwood
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

So it seems our friend Tyrann Mathieu has decided to bare all when it comes to his season of fun with the LSU Tigers by telling the media that he stopped counting after 10 failed drug tests while enrolled in school and on the football team.

Again, in case you didn’t get it or if it is 420 time yourself, he lost count after 10 failed drug tests. But that is not surprising if you think about it because if you were hitting the bong as much as Mathieu was at that point in time he stopped counting a lot of things in his life.

But despite where you fall in your support for him or your readiness to send him to the wasteland of wasted talent occupied by greats such as Ryan Leaf and Ricky Williams, take a step back from your emotions and let’s work through some questions together before passing judgement.

First, what college student hasn’t smoked some weed in the past 60 years? Come on! You remember that semester or that junior year when the weather was perfect and you just couldn’t get Bob Marley out of your CD player. To what level you fired them up is one thing, but don’t lead the charge against any athlete in College Football or any sport for that matter when you are probably guilty as charged as well.

Second, do you really believe that someone addicted to weed or drugs is a bum? Really think about this one for a second before you answer. Addiction is addiction no matter the vice and one can harm themselves or their family just as easily as the other. So if you are someone killing Mathieu for his blunt antics, this guy would love to know how many drinks you have every day to take the edge off? How many pills do you take to help you through the day? How much time do you spend watching some porn on the internet? How many trips do you take back for seconds at the lunch line? How many packs a day do you go through? Looks a lot different when you think of it that way doesn’t it?

Finally, so what do you think needs to be done if anything to curb or end this wildfire? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. As stated before college kids are going to be college kids. So you can remove that part of the equation which leaves it up to the schools and the coaches to figure out what is best for their program. Right now that is a big extreme across the entire nation. Heck, smoking weed is even legal now in Colorado and Washington. How are you going to police that?

The NCAA says they take this problem seriously and attest they drug test over 13,000 athletes each year. But despite that testing, they leave each school to levy the punishment. Even the mighty SEC can’t either figure out what to do or understands it’s not a big deal. Heading into this season, only three schools, the Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats and the Mississippi State Bulldogs have suspension policies in place for a secondary offense. Compare that with the rest of the conference and the fact you have to have a Dr. Drew level addiction to get kicked off the team in Baton Rouge, one can see where the root of the problem truly lies.

But, how good would a universal punishment in the SEC work and would it even solve the problem? The answer is probably no. But rules are to be followed and swift punishment should come once a student breaks them. Whether it’s pot or cutting class, the rules should be the same. You let your team down. You let yourself down. And at that point it is about the severity of the issue and to what point the man or lady needs assistance or help to get back on track.

There is no way under the sun banning pot will ever fly.

But we can all do a much better job of understanding the kid and wanting our school or conference to do everything it can do to help them recover from any shortcoming or failures they have and better themselves and their family for the future.

After all, isn’t that what college is all about?


M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.

Follow him @woodysmalls.

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