Auburn coach Gus Malzahn wouldn’t say whether quarterback Nick Marshall will miss any playing time as a result of his pot bust this past Friday, particularly in that rather significant season opener against Arkansas. But defensive lineman Gabe Wright said he and the Tigers already know what the disciplinary outcome will be.
It has been spelled out for them continuously, verbally and in writing.
“Before the season, our compliance (staff) lays out the rules and regulations of both the NCAA and Auburn and we know what it is,” said Wright, a senior tackle from Columbus. “Everything from cars to agents, we always have that meeting before the next season.”
Sure enough, Auburn’s policy on marijuana-use is spelled out pretty clearly on the team’s website. A 17-page document on the subject of drug testing, education and procedures can be found under the drop-down tab “Doc and Reports.” On page 10 of that document is the breakdown is what happens on a first-time positive test.
Assuming an arrest for possession qualifies as a positive test and it’s Marshall’s first-such encounter at Auburn, Marshall’s parents or guardians will be informed, he will be required to attend counseling and evaluation and he’ll be subjected to weekly drug-testing for the next 12 months.
And according to item 4 (a), “there will be no loss of playing time (for) penalty level I.”
Again, that’s assuming this is a first offense for Marshall, which there is no way of knowing. Other programs, such as the University of Georgia’s, call for an automatic suspension even on a first offense. The Bulldogs require first offenders to sit out 10 percent of the competition dates, or one game in football and three games in basketball.
Marshall already has encountered his first form of punishment. He was scheduled to be one of the three student-athlete representatives Auburn brought to Birmingham for SEC Football Media Days on Monday. But after Marshall was cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana Friday in Reynolds, Ga., Auburn decided to leave him home and brought senior tight end C.J. Uzomah instead.
That left Wright, Uzomah, and center Reese Dismukes to answer the media’s questions about Marshall’s indiscretion and the use of drugs by college athletics.
“I feel like you just have to welcome that,” Wright said. “I’m not going to say I wouldn’t want to be asked (about Marshall’s situation) but, in all honesty, I have no decision-making (role) in what happens to Nick. Whatever happens to Nick, happens to Nick. I can accept the responsibility for what happens after the fact, looking out for him from here. When stuff like that happens, that’s really all a guy needs, someone tagging along closer and looking out for him. That’s what us three and the rest of the seniors can do as a whole. But ultimately Coach Malzahn will make the decision on what happens.”
And what will happen is no mystery to the players in Auburn’s locker room.
“We do get tested, by Auburn and the NCAA, and there are consequences,” Wright said. “… How those consequences are given out, I can tell you we know the rules. Auburn has them and the NCAA has rules. (But) the consequences are ultimately up to my head coach.”
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