Weed is legal in Oregon, but in the eyes of the NCAA, Mary Jane remains the devil’s lettuce. The NCAA views marijuana as a “street drug” and a failed test for the stuff means a player will then miss at least half of the next season.
Thus, Oregon wide receiver and rising star Darren Carrington–who torched the Seminoles last week–remains suspended for Monday’s NCAA National Championship game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Because he smoked some weed.
Then today, the Ducks’ senior Running Back and special teams dynamo Ayele Forde, was also sent home for also failing a drug test for weed. Both suspensions mean that the Ducks, already missing wide receiver Devon Allen and tight end Pharaoh Brown, will play without two of their top five passing weapons on Monday night.
That means the Ducks are mired by distractions two days away from the big game, that means two less weapons for Marcus Mariota, and that ultimately means weed may cost the Ducks the program’s first national championship. Since Oregon will face a team starting its “third-string” quarterback and the team still has a slew of talented players surrounding Mariota, the game’s outcome is far from determined.
But because the NCAA views marijuana just like it does cocaine or any harder drug, Mariota won’t have his normal arsenal, and Ohio State must feel better about its chances. Oregon still has plenty of weapons: Royce Freeman and Mariota have combined to rush for 33 touchdowns, while wide receivers Byron Marshall, Dwayne Stanford, and Dwayne Stanford have amassed 17 touchdowns via Mariota’s arm.
Still, when a team loses its top talent at wide receiver, its offense becomes far less scary. And Oregon looks like a team in disarray while Ohio State looks like a quiet team prepared for a massive game.
Since ESPN’s “damning” exposition of prolific weed use at Oregon in 2010, it’s been no secret that Ducks players like to get high after flying high on the field. That report states that marijuana can become a “huge problem.” For Oregon, that huge problem hasn’t prevented the program from becoming arguably the nation’s best.
But his suspension is bullshit as is the NCAA’s marijuana policy. The Oregon Ducks players are grown men smoking a substance that people can legally buy and consume in Oregon everyday–without losing their jobs or letting their families down.
Last night on ESPN, I watched Joey Galloway light up Carrington’s choice to smoke weed and chastise the player for letting his team down. While Carrington’s timing couldn’t have been worse (and yeah, he could’ve waited a couple of weeks), the suspension for smoking weed far outweighs the choice to smoke a substance legal in the state he plays.
Pundits like Galloway and Oregon’s fans can point fingers at Carrington all they want, but the fact remains that his actions and then the NCAA’s suspension highlight the NCAA’s absurd policy more than a young man’s “poor decision.”
The biggest game of the year’s outcome in college football simply shouldn’t be determined because of a bogus weed suspension.