Bingham football star Harvey Langi has been suspended by the team for the first round of the 5A playoffs after he was cited earlier this month for trespassing and told police he had smoked marijuana, a Jordan School District spokesman said.
Langi passed a drug test Thursday, which district spokesman Steven Dunham said proves Langi didn't smoke marijuana the night of Oct. 17. Langi and three other males were cited for trespassing after police could smell marijuana emanating from inside a house under construction in South Jordan.
An underage member of the football team was also present and cited for trespassing, but Dunham said he couldn't comment on the playing status of a minor.
Dunham stressed that Langi's suspension was for trespassing, not admitting that he smoked marijuana. Langi was also charged with attempting to flee from police. One male in the group was charged with possession of marijuana after police found a "small amount" of the drug in his car.
The Miners have been the most dominant team in Utah football this season, with Langi its brightest star. He has rushed for 1,043 yards and 15 touchdowns. The 9-0 Miners are ranked No. 4 in the country this week by USA Today.
According to the South Jordan police report, an officer was patrolling the area of 4325 West and Vermilion Drive late on Oct. 17. He knew the house was supposed to be empty but saw a car parked out front.
After the officers identified themselves, the four males ran out of the house in different directions before they were caught.
The officer who filed the report said he spoke to Langi first, and "he admitted they were in the home smoking marijuana."
Langi said in a statement through the district that he told police he was scared and lied to police.
"When the police came, I was caught up in the moment and scared and did admit to the officer that I did use marijuana," he said.
Bingham coach Dave Peck and Principal Tom Hicks didn't respond to several messages left for them.
According to Langi's statement, Peck asked him if he would take a drug test. The results, provided to The Tribune by the school district, with Langi's consent, show he tested negative for all substances, including marijuana.
"The test proves that I did not smoke marijuana or take any other substances," Langi said.
If Langi had failed a drug test, he likely would have missed the remainder of the season. The Bingham football team's code of ethics, found on its website, says that if a player breaks a rule, including marijuana use, "he will miss the next four games."
The Miners will have to play four games if they reach the state championship for the third straight season.
The citations mark the second time this season Bingham players have been in trouble with the law. Nose guard Seni Fauonuku was suspended for games on Sept. 24 and Sept. 30 after The Tribune reported he faced felony charges stemming from a March 30 armed robbery.
Fauonuku was originally charged as an adult, but his case was sent back to Juvenile Court after a joint motion on Oct. 26 between his attorney and the District Attorney's Office. His next court appearance is Nov. 4.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @oramb
Harvey Langi's statement
"I was at the house under construction with some friends. When the police came, I was caught up in the moment and scared and did admit to the officer that I did use marijuana.
"I spoke with coach [Dave] Peck the next day and told him that I was not smoking marijuana, I was just with my friends. He asked if I would voluntarily take a drug test, which I agreed to do to clear my name. The test proves that I did not smoke marijuana or take any other substances.
"I was scared and just went with the pack. I am ashamed and I am sorry for what I did and what has happened. I am sorry for how my actions have affected Bingham High and the football team."