And here we go again.
Earlier this week, former New York Times and Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts wrote on her website, Roopstigo.com, that Auburn was responsible for multiple NCAA bylaw violations, including impermissible benefits and academic fraud, during the Gene Chizik/pre Gene Chizik era.
Among the allegations Roberts touches on was the players’ use of “spice”, a synthetic, yet formerly legal, form of marijuana. In a “report” from ESPN The Magazine and E:60, 12 football players on the 2010 national champion team were, and I quote, “gripped by an epidemic of synthetic marijuana use that led to a rash of failed drug tests…”
A six-month investigation by ESPN The Magazine and “E:60″ into the spread of synthetic marijuana at Auburn reveals that a dozen students on the football team, including its star running back, Michael Dyer, failed tests for the designer drug. The investigation also found that because the school did not implement testing for the drug until after it won the national championship in January 2011, as many as a dozen other seniors who used synthetic marijuana were never caught.
It should be noted that synthetic marijuana wasn’t declared fully illegal in Alabama until October, 2011 (it became illegal at the federal level the following year). Additionally, the NCAA only added synthetic marijuana to its list of banned substances in December of 2010.
But the angle in the ESPN story is that Chizik and Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs were “aware of the football team’s 12 positive tests for synthetic marijuana, they kept the results secret, even from the parents of the players.”
Probably because, according to Jacobs, spice wasn’t a part of the university’s official drug-testing policy until Aug. 2011 and therefore not punishable.
Chizik and Jabobs officially responded to Roberts’ report earlier today.
Would it have been nice if parents had been notified? Sure, but if it wasn’t an illegal drug, then it no longer is the university’s prerogative to do so. Besides, spice is the least of the program’s concerns if even so much of a portion of Roberts’ story is true.