Athletes can be tested on a random basis, before the start of their season, upon reasonable suspicion and before postseason competition. Those who fail drug tests are also subject to follow-up testing.
Stansbury instituted the changes after having been asked by school president G.P. “Bud” Peterson to review all of the athletic-department policies upon his hire in August 2016. Tech coaches Paul Johnson and Josh Pastner were among those supporting a change to the former policy.
“Times have changed,” Johnson said in September. “And, to me, there probably ought to be reason to test guys.”
Pastner was in favor of the incentive of removing a strike after staying clean for a certain amount of time, which came to pass. Stansbury said that rule was added after consulting experts, researching the policies of other schools and considering Tech’s own history.
“There’s been cases where somebody had a positive test, say, in their freshman year and then went years without a problem and, then, all of a sudden, they come back from spring break or something and their senior year they had a positive test and they’re penalized,” Stansbury said. “So this was a way, really, to give them also an incentive to basically get clean, stay clean.”
Pastner said Wednesday that he was “100 percent” behind whatever policy Stansbury deems best.
“I’m in the foxhole with Todd,” Pastner said.
Athletes can remove a strike only once in their career. It can be applied after either the first or second positive. Under the new policy, former Tech football star Dedrick Mills might have had his second strike removed by the time he failed his third drug test before the start of the 2017 season. The suspension for his second offense was announced Nov. 9, 2016. His dismissal was announced Aug. 18, 2017, a little more than nine months later.
Had that been the case, he would have been suspended for two games rather than be dismissed. A subsequent offense would have meant the end of Mills’ Tech career.
Tech joins a trend toward athletic department substance-abuse policies that have become more nuanced, as well as lenient. While some schools’ policies treat a positive for marijuana differently, Tech’s will not.
Stansbury said the percentage of athletes who test positive, even once, is “really low. … Fortunately, it’s not something that we’ve had to deal with a lot.”
Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson was born Aug. 20, 1957, in Newland, North Carolina. Johnson was hired and introduced Dec. 7, 2007 as Tech's 12th football coach, beginning with John Heisman in 1904. Tech defeated Jacksonville State 41-14 on Aug. 28, 2008, in Johnson's debut as Yellow Jackets coach. Johnson's Georgia Southern teams won Division I-AA (now FCS) national championships in 1999 and 2000. Johnson coached six seasons at Navy and was 43-19 over the final five, after a 2-10 first season. Jo
Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Nate Woody was born Dec. 30, 1960 in Burlington, N.C., and graduated from T.L. Hanna High in Anderson, S.C. T.L. Hanna was the setting for the motion picture "Radio" that starred Cuba Gooding Jr. Nate Woody played at Wofford and later was defensive coordinator there (2000-12) and at Appalachian State (2013-17). App State defenses ranked in the top 30 in the FBS in each of Woody's final four seasons as coordinator. Woody played two seasons at defensive back and two at lin