Jordan Love said he wanted his college career to end “with a bang.”
What if it now ends in a cloud of smoke?
Utah State is outwardly saying its star quarterback is eligible to play, but behind the scenes there has been back and forth as to whether he should be allowed to.
Love and a couple of his Aggie teammates were cited for marijuana possession in the run-up to Friday’s Frisco Bowl, when police arrived at a student apartment from which the smell of weed wafted. The Frisco Bowl was scheduled to be Love’s final game, after he announced he would enter the NFL Draft.
Gary Andersen indicated on Thursday that Love will definitely play — he has a court date later this month, and through his attorney Love said he’s innocent. Whether he is or he isn’t, the Aggies are making the right call by letting him take the field.
They are letting freedom, letting practicality, letting common sense, ring.
The NCAA has been in a slow slide toward lessening penalties, even for athletes who test positive for marijuana use. And some pro leagues, like Major League Baseball, will cease testing for that use completely.
A number of universities have liberalized their penalties for those who are determined to have used the herb, giving perps some five or more so-called strikes before punishments are applied. That is indicative of a move toward legalizing marijuana in states around the country, many for medicinal reasons, others for recreational use.
Let’s say it the way it is here: If every college athlete who used marijuana — or who was cited for possession — in one form or another was prevented from playing in games, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of games to watch. I’ve asked countless college football and basketball players through the years whether they or any of the athletes they know have smoked pot for one reason or another, and their collective response is resoundingly in the affirmative.
It might not matter in the eyes of the NCAA, or in the judgment of Utah State administrators or other officials, but, legal or not, student-athletes, many of them, are using marijuana, some so they can handle the pain they are asked to endure, some because they feel like it.
If Love possessed or smoked weed, he wouldn’t be on any kind of island, tropical or otherwise.
For him to be prevented from participating in the Aggies’ bowl game, if he were, would be not just unfortunate, but silly. Others who haven’t been caught or cited, will go on participating. And based on conversations with the aforementioned athletes, there’s a good chance there will be more than a few that fit into that category.
The whole thing seems dis-jointed — OK, apologies, all around — on account of what’s actually happening behind the scenes and what’s being purported as appropriate out in front of them.
Folks are smoking weed. A whole lot of them.
Is it technically, in some corners, illegal? Yes, but so is jaywalking.
Let’s admit it and understand it, deal with it proper, rather than punish people who get caught doing it, or who are cited for possession, disqualifying them from this or that, from playing in games. It’s not a performance-enhancer. That much is clear.
Would I let Love play in the freaking Frisco Bowl, even if he was recently found in a cloud of smoke? Yes, I would. And I’m not a smoker, nor do I have any desire to be. I’d let him end his college career with a bang, even if he had been blazing, blasting, blowing or burning one down.
It looks as though the Aggies agree.
But that’s just us. What say you?
GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.