SEC and NCAA Suspension Rules Should be Universal


Jul 16, 2013; Hoover, AL, USA; SEC commissioner Mike Slive talks with the media during the 2013 SEC football media days at the Hyatt Regency. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Have you noticed that a player from School A could do Crime X and not get suspended with another player at School B could committing the same crime but be suspended for two or three games? Punishment is up to the head coach of a football team, but there should be a set standard of disciplinary action across the board within the SEC, and to a larger extent the NCAA.

Every case is different. Sure, I get that. But there are a lot of schools giving three and four chances before a player incurs any punishments for their wrong-doings. That’s not good for the player – someone who is expected to assimilate into society after football.

Right now Georgia, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State have the strictest drug policy. Many people point to these programs for their lack of control because of arrests and violation of team rules that occur, but in actuality these things are only known publicly because there are punishments.

Mark Richt catches a lot of grief about his players getting into trouble. Every year Georgia has players suspended to start the season. Sometimes it’s as much as three or four games – getting into SEC play and covering their annual early game with South Carolina. But Richt is strict. He cares about the players on his team and is looking to discipline them so they won’t get into trouble again.

Do you think a school like Ole Miss uses that against UGA in recruiting? Of course. An easy way to get ahead in recruiting is to tell players about your policy where you don’t get into trouble until the 4th and 5th time you screw up. Why are OM players getting into all sorts of trouble? Well knowing they have a few mulligans gives them free reign to do whatever they want until they are caught multiple times – then they’ll have to straighten up because the punishment will eventually come after a hat trick of arrests.

The SEC needs to put forth a set of standards to go by. If you get a DUI you are suspended for 3 games. If you are arrested for disorderly conduct you are suspended for one game. Etc. etc. etc. Each coach can suspend a player for longer, but if you get arrested you are automatically suspended.

Violations of team rules are obviously different. If a player is late to practice every day for a week the SEC shouldn’t suspend him for the first half of the next game – how would they even know? One thing to keep in mind though is when you hear about players getting suspended for things like that it doesn’t mean they have a bunch of screw-ups, it means the head coach actually cares about the players and is helping them do better rather than letting them do whatever they want.

In the end, not disciplining players will come home to roost. Once the inmates run the asylum it’s only a matter of time before a program hits the floor. But for the good of the players the SEC should make universal suspension rules for players who get arrested.