After missing most of last season with a back injury, University of Michigan forward Mitch McGary seemed likely to head back to Ann Arbor for another year of work on his sketchy offensive game and another deep run in the NCAA tournament. Instead, he'll be declaring for the NBA draft—all because he got high.
Yahoo's Dan Wetzel has the story, which is significantly dumber than you'd think. As Michigan was celebrating their Sweet 16 win over Tennessee, it seems, some NCAA guy grabbed McGary—who hadn't played in months—and demanded he submit to a drug test. It came back hot, as McGary had smoked weed two weeks before. If he'd failed a Michigan test, McGary would have been in for a three-game suspension; this being an NCAA test, though, he was in for a year-long ban. (Adding to the absurdity, the NCAA recently announced that, among other policy changes, it would be halving the suspension for "street drugs," so that McGary would have been subject to a penalty even the NCAA thinks is draconian.) Understandably enough, he's going pro.
This is pretty ridiculous; whether or not we've come to accept it, the idea of schools and a profiteering cartel forcing anyone to piss in a jar is outrageous. It's also pretty telling; the NCAA, which constantly reminds us that so-called student-athletes are students above all, is penalizing McGary for doing something normal and healthy that millions of his peers do. Happily, though, no one seems to be pretending otherwise.
Wetzel has McGary expressing some perfunctory remorse ("This was a learning moment for me") and coach John Beilein expressing some perfunctory disappointment ( "This is not Mitch McGary"), but the thrust of his report is that the NCAA is running a guy out of college due to a perverse and archaic policy. Whatever; McGary got high, and now he'll get paid. Things work out in the end.
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