Since Kirby Smart took over coaching duties for the Georgia Bulldogs, about a dozen player arrests have been made. In fact, at least for a while, this was the most arrests of any team in the SEC. Smart has punished his personnel accordingly; lesser offenses have been met with suspensions from play, while players who’ve committed more serious crimes have been removed from the team altogether.
Still, the errant activity continues.
The penalties for possession of marijuana or underage possession of alcohol
Not so surprisingly, the bulk of arrests have stemmed from illegal possession of alcohol or drugs. While many states have relaxed their attitudes toward drug use in general, and marijuana in particular, Georgia remains firmly old school. Not only are punishments severe, but law enforcement officers are not so quick – as they are in other locales – to look the other way. This puts a great many students, and not just stud athletes, at risk for arrest.
Possession of any amount of marijuana is treated as a criminal offense in Georgia. Offenders can receive up to a year in prison and $1,000 in fines. However, if an individual is caught with more than one ounce (1 oz) of marijuana, the offense will be considered a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Underage possession of alcohol, meanwhile, is also met harshly. First-time offenders can receive six months in jail, as well as the suspension of their driver’s license. Repeat offenders or those caught behind the wheel can expert punishments that are still more severe.
Moreover, college students face additional risks if they’re busted while in school. A conviction might lead to a scholarship or financial aid package being revoked. The establishment of a criminal record can damage future employment prospects. One false step for a student can lead to decades of consequences. For many, working with an attorney is a potent means to have criminal charges dismissed in exchange for alternative sentencing options.
Busted players often play on
Football players, basketball players, and other campus athletes are sometimes shielded from the direst punishments. Their schools have a stake in protecting them, and will often go to bat on their behalf.
At least two Bulldogs were forced to sit out the season opener. No doubt this was disappointing to them and their families. But they’ve been able to log minutes since.