Projected starting offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle was dismissed by the Texas football program earlier this week, reportedly for failing to live up to the terms of a substance abuse rehab program. Based on the most recent report, that should come as no surprise if true.
Citing data obtained in an open records request, Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that, in the first eight months of Charlie Strong‘s tenure with the Longhorns, 188 drug tests have been administered to an unknown number of UT football players. The only known is that every member of the football team was tested in March.
For comparison’s sake, an average of 104 tests per year were administered between 2010-13 when Mack Brown was the head coach.
The tests under Strong are broken down thusly by the American Statesman, which notes athletes can be tested at any time for any reason:
A total of 104 drug tests were administered from March 19-28, according to university records. Then on April 11, another 18 players were tested. Two tests were administered on April 30, and one more came on May 3. Players were tested during the summer, as 15 tests were administered on July 19. Two players were tested on Aug. 11, right in the middle of training camp as the players and coaches were living together in the dorms.
Seven more came on Aug. 22 and another seven players were tested the day before the season opener against North Texas, according to records. Brown usually tested players in the spring and mid-October, but never during training camp or before the season opener, records indicate.
Strictly as it relates to marijuana, there’s a four-strikes-and-you’re-out policy at UT. The first positive nets counseling, while the second and third positives result in suspensions of 10 percent of a sport’s regular-season games (one game for football) and 50 percent (six games) respectively. The fourth earns a student-athlete a dismissal.
This year, $8,775 has been spent on drug testing. That number ranged from $5,100 to $6,500 the previous four years. Then again, when you can (reportedly) offer a $10o million-plus financial package to a head coach at another school or the unlimited use of a private jet to another, a couple of hundred extra pee cups probably won’t make a dent in the budget.
“If we get information that leads us to believe there is cause to test, then we will certainly do that,” Allen Hardin, who oversees UT’s sports medicine and drug testing program, told the paper, indicating that this isn’t just a short-term “scare tactic” on Strong’s part but rather the head coach putting actions behind his five core values.
“He puts [the core values] on the wall and [the perception is] it’s like a new thing, like somebody wrote the Bible,” UT defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said earlier this month. “Well … teach a woman with respect. If you have a son, won’t you teach him that? I never had a gun. My mom never let me have a gun. My wife surely won’t let me have a gun. What’s wrong with that? No drugs. What’s wrong with that? Don’t steal. What’s wrong with that? What’s big about those core values? It’s the same thing every parent out there teaches.”
In other words, current and future Longhorn football players, it might be wise to follow this sage and timeless advice when it comes to the pharmaceutical aspect of the Strong’s Top Five…