The UCF football program will be short-handed for at least half of the 2017 season because two of their players like to smoke weed.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, wide receiver Tristan Payton and cornerback Nevelle Clark tested positive for marijuana in a random drug screening conducted by the NCAA during the Knights’ visit to the Cure Bowl. As per the NCAA rules of amateurism, the players will be forced to serve a minimum suspension of six games in 2017.
In the grand scheme of things, neither player will make or break the season for the Knights.
Payton has managed only 33 catches for 396 yards and two touchdowns over his first two seasons, while Neville had only 15 tackles in 11 games as a redshirt freshman. What is most disappointing is the continued punishment levied against players who are looking for a release from the constant abuse they are putting themselves through for the entertainment of others.
There is an element of understanding between the players and the NCAA when it comes to matters like these. The players knew the rules beforehand, agreed to them, and broke them. It’s not unreasonable that they receive some kind of punishment when looked at cut-and-dry that way.
However, it becomes a more involved and complicated decision when it feels like you need a taxi to get you from your bed to the bathroom in the morning.
Some revision is likely needed in this area of the NCAA rulebook. But with so many other passages in that same book needing revision as well, it might be a while until anyone gets around to it.