ATHENS - Bacarri Rambo's appeal of a four-game suspension, and possibly his future at Georgia, will hinge on whether UGA believes he accidentally ate some pot brownies.
Rambo is set to be suspended four games for a second violation of the UGA athletic association policy on drugs. The first violation occurred last year, also under circumstances the player claims were not his fault. (More on that later.)
Also, Rambo and inside linebacker Alec Ogletree may not be the last players popped for a drug test. (More on that later too.)
Alan Ingram, who coached Rambo at Seminole County High School, has spoken extensively with Rambo and filled in the details.
Two weeks ago the All-American safety was on a spring break vacation with two former teammates at Seminole County. They were staying in a condo. There was a get-together one night.
"Bacarri got up the next morning, got a glass of milk, and there was a stack there with some brownies. He ate a couple brownies,” Ingram said.
Later, Rambo was told by one of his friends that the brownies were laced with marijuana.
“Absolutely, he didn’t know what he was consuming," Ingram said. "He just continued to tell me, ‘Coach I don’t smoke marijuana. No I don’t do it. I’ve got too much going for me, I’m not stupid.' ”
Rambo subsequently failed a drug test that was administered this week by UGA. So did Ogletree and perhaps three other players, according to Ingram.
“I think there’s five that were tested, all of them defensive guys," the Seminole County coach said. "To me, and I’m not condoning anything anybody has done. But I think it was a stupid thing to do to test college athletes the week after spring break. Unless they want to catch something. I doubt if there’s many universities out there that are testing their athletes the week after spring break.”
Rambo is appealing his suspension. If he doesn't have it granted, one option is to end his Georgia career and enter the NFL supplemental draft. But Ingram downplayed that option.
“It’s in the back of his mind. It was discussed. But very vaguely. I wouldn’t go out on a limb and say that was a viable option. I hope it’s not. I would imagine he’s waiting to see what goes in his appeal.”
The suspension for four games is automatic because this is Rambo's second offense. The first one came last year, when a passenger in Rambo's car was found with marijuana, according to what the player told Ingram.
Rambo was driving a car stopped for speeding near Macon. The officers asked to search the car, Rambo agreed, and a woman in the car was found with marijuana in her purse.
“There weren’t any charges in that situation. He called me and asked me about it, and I told him to go tell coach Richt,” Ingram said.
The result was a suspension for Georgia's season opener against Boise State. The Bulldogs lost, then Rambo returned and had an All-American season.
Ingram says he knows the two incidents will stain Rambo's reputation, and most people won't believe him. But Ingram is still standing in Rambo's corner.
“He’s never lied to me and I don’t believe he will," Ingram said. "Percentages are not there (to believe Rambo). But I guess i'll be the one percent."