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Drunk driving vs. smoking pot: Does the punishment fit the crime for college student-athletes?

[ 0 ] April 30, 2014 |

CAMPUS BLITZ: Register reporter Randy Peterson buzzes through the college sports landscape with thoughts on timeless topics.

The NCAA has all but said, without really saying it, that a puff of weed is worse than getting nailed for drunk driving. Yeah, right. That makes about as much sense as. . .

The NCAA.

Michigan's Mitch McGary, left, recently declared for the NBA draft after testing positive for marijuana. Iowa's Peter Jok was arrested for OWI on April 26. (USA Today and Register photos)

Michigan’s Mitch McGary, left, recently declared for the NBA draft after testing positive for marijuana. Iowa’s Peter Jok was arrested for OWI on April 26.
(USA Today and Register photos)

In case you missed it. . . .

College athletics’ almighty governing body said Michigan’s Mitch McGary had to sit out an entire season after the one-year-wonder tested positive for marijuana. A full season – 35 or so games, maybe.

Ridiculous.

Take your pick of players who get caught for (allegedly) driving while intoxicated – most recently and in order, Abdel Nader of Iowa State and Peter Jok of Iowa. The NCAA won’t ban them for a season. The schools will handle that process, which often amounts to possibly a handful of games, some community service, and a class or two about pitfalls of drinking immediately before assuming the wheel.

Do I have this right? The NCAA looks the other way when someone who has been drinking puts someone else at risk, yet bans a kid for an entire season who takes a hit?

Good luck in the NBA, Mitch.

“If it had been a Michigan test, I would’ve been suspended three games and possibly thought about coming back,” McGary told yahoo.com.

A bad back limited him to just eight games last season – one that included a nine-point, six-rebound performance in a 77-70 loss at Iowa State on Nov. 11. He could have used another year, just to prove his back was OK. Not happening.

“This pushed it overboard,” he said of the NCAA’s decision. “I don’t think the penalty fits the crime. I think one year is overdoing it a little bit.”

HOT READS

Apparently (for now) Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was so hungry that he couldn’t wait for the campus pantry to be stocked, after the NCAA’s more-food legislation passed.

Multiple websites reported that the most recent Heisman Trophy-winner was ticketed Tuesday for (allegedly) shoplifting crab legs from a grocery store.

If true, doesn’t Winston already have enough on his plate after being investigated (and not charged) for an alleged rape?

The new NCAA rule, passed last week, says athletes can receive unlimited meals and snacks starting on Aug. 1. But can a high-profile player just walk into the local Publix and grab a frozen bag of crab legs?

We’ll get back to you on that one.

*

College basketball list transfer update:

It’s between 400 and 425 as of today, according to ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, who for years has kept tab on that. Two are visiting Iowa State this weekend – Hallice Cooke, formerly of Oregon State, and Ryan Anderson, formerly of Boston College.

RUMOR MILLING

Hear the one about Iowa State basketball assistant Doc Sadler being in the mix at Southern Mississippi?

Me, too.

Sounds plausible, considering the personable Sadler, 53, has a lot of coaching left in him.

There’s Cyclones-Golden Eagles history:

Southern Miss is the school that salvaged Larry Eustachy’s career after a disgraceful ending at Iowa State.

*

Bob Bowlsby future NCAA president? I’ve heard that one many times recently, but don’t look for that to happen.

“I traveled a path that in the old days probably might have led to possibly becoming the NCAA president,” Bowlsby said in a 2012 interview. “I think that train left the station. That job will always go to a university president, and I think that’s’ the way it should be.”

Anyhow, he’s more powerful as the Big 12 commish.

FOUL OR NO FOUL

Who calls meetings to order when the BCS Five starts making their own rules late this summer? Put the boxing gloves on Bowlsby and the Big Ten’s Jim Delany. May the toughest guy pound the gavel.

STAY IN TOUCH

Keep tabs with Register reporter Randy Peterson on Twitter (@RandyPete) or shoot him an e-mail at randypeterson@dmreg.com.

Category: Big Ten, Hawkeye news

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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