War Eagle Extra

Four Auburn players facing drug charges won’t miss any playing time

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn arrives at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama on Monday July 11, 2016.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn arrives at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama on Monday July 11, 2016. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

The four Auburn players arrested for possession of marijuana in April — Byron Cowart, Carlton Davis, Ryan Davis and Jeremiah Dinson — won’t miss any playing time.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn announced the decision during a session with beat reporters who cover the team before a full day of interviews at the SEC Media Days at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover.

Malzahn arrived along with the team’s three player representatives — Carl Lawson, Marcus Davis and Montravius Adams — shortly before entering the third floor conference room. The group spent a few minutes meeting fans and signing autographs in the hotel lobby.

Auburn’s coach is scheduled to meet with all the media members assembled for SEC Media Days at 12:55 p.m. He’s also set to do a number of one-on-one interviews with national outlets including the SEC Network, CBS Sports, Sirius XM and ESPN throughout the day.

Malzahn dropped what could be the biggest news of the day minutes into the informal press conference.

“Those four young men made a mistake, we punished them and they won’t miss any time that’s behind us,” Malzahn said. “They are four fine young men. They made a mistake and I’m confident they won’t make it again.”

Malzahn said the decision had “zero” to do with the quality of his team’s week one opponent Clemson, and declined to elaborate why the punishment isn’t as severe as the one Nick Marshall received for a similar offense two years ago.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Malzahn said of his decision.

The four Auburn players were arrested and charged with second-degree possession of marijuana on April 30. The Class A misdemeanor charges carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail along with a $6,000 fine. Malzahn initially addressed the situation during an early stop on his 2016 Tiger Trek tour in May.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed that we had some players get arrested, but it will be taken care of,” Malzahn said.

He declined to elaborate about the possible punishment for the players on subsequent tour stops.

Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner was the most recent member of the team’s coaching staff to reference the situation in early June at an alumni club event in Albany, Georgia, echoing what Malzahn said on Monday.

“I think they’re all remorseful,” Garner said. “They made a mistake, we disciplined them and we got to move on and learn from it. You try to put corrective measures in place that when a young man makes a mistake, you use it as a teaching moment. You discipline them and all that, but hopefully they learn something from it and won’t repeat the same mistake.”