A day after ESPN released its synthetic marijuana report regarding the 2010 Auburn team, there are major questions regarding the timeline of events and the report itself.
First, it’s important to remember the last three days – and two reports – have been brought about by two of the four players arrested for armed robbery in March of 2011. Is it a coincidence the reports are being released ahead of trial dates?
Second, what exactly did Auburn do wrong, and what’s the major story in the ‘spice’ scandal? The state of Alabama didn’t make the drug illegal until October 2011. Auburn started testing for the drug in January 2011 – three days after the first test became available – but due to flaws in the testing and its inability to determine the levels of the substance, they waited until a better version of the test was made available in August 2011. Remember, the ESPN report is entirely about the 2010 team.
Sure, Auburn could have suspended all the players who failed the initial drug tests, but because there was no clear test and it wasn’t banned until August 2011, the university could then have been sued by every single one of the players suspended.
The ESPN report says that ‘a six-month investigation’ took place, and that Auburn kept the tests secret from even parents. And, yet, it took Auburn’s Rivals site just 20 minutes to find one parent who was notified about their son testing positive for ‘spice’.
“It’s just false and inaccurate. As a parent, I was notified, so that bumps the fact that no parents were notified,” said one parent that wishes to remain anonymous. “I haven’t seen the ESPN story, but if they said the parents weren’t notified, that’s not true. I was called and I know two other parents that were notified, too.
“I know for sure two, from me seeing them down there. If they notified me and two other parents, if there was anyone else, I’m sure they were told. I don’t understand this.”
In a statement released by AD Jay Jacobs, Auburn also contends that, and phone records they say show, 50 phone calls were made to the two parents quoted in the ESPN story. For as much flack as Jacobs takes, Auburn nation should be impressed with his definitive rebuttal.
The facts clearly demonstrate that the Auburn Athletics Department and the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics acted appropriately and aggressively in response to the growing threat of synthetic marijuana during the 2010-2011 academic year.
Some of the statements made in the story are wrong and need to be corrected, while others need to be put into proper context. One player interviewed by ESPN, for example, alleges that up to half of the 2010 football team was using synthetic marijuana. It’s hard to be more wrong than that. The facts and our drug testing results simply do not support such a claim.
Auburn maintains that there was a synthetic pot problem but contends the university took the necessary steps to eradicate the drug and notify parents of the issue. Hell, they even sent urine samples to even help develop the drug test. While they didn’t report the failed drug tests, the drug wasn’t illegal or listed on the school’s banned substance policy at the time.
So, what did Auburn do wrong again?
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