ATHENS - For those who think Georgia needs to soften its drug testing policy for athletes, don't count on that happening.
Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity, speaking on Atlanta radio on Thursday morning, defended the policy and didn't indicate it would change.
McGarity pointed out that the policy has been in place for 17 years.
"The intent is really not to penalize people. The intent is to educate and try to make a difference in a young person's life," McGarity said, speaking on 790-AM The Zone with Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham. "You want to make sure they're not making bad choices and going down a road that would be hurtful to them. It's doing the right thing for a student-athlete even though it may put us at a disadvantage."
Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo is facing a four-game suspension for a second violation of the drug policy. He is appealing. Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree is also facing suspension for an unknown amount of time. Last year three tailbacks, including Isaiah Crowell, were suspended for one game after positive tests.
Georgia's policy calls for random testing, with a first violation resulting in a suspension of 10 percent of the season (or one game in football) and a second one resulting in 30 percent (or four games).
It was pointed out to McGarity that fans were frustrated that Bulldog players might be suspended while other teams aren't penalized, or even tested, for drug testing. McGarity responded by saying that UGA has "nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to apologize for" in terms of the testing.
"When you elect to be a student-athlete there's certain things you accept while doing that, and that means academically, socially, anything," McGarity said. "You're just in a totally different arena there, and you have to abide by certain rules and regulations."
The SEC doesn't have a uniform policy for drug testing. McGarity pointed out that some other schools make not have the "resources" to test. But Georgia does.
"Our is what it is, and people know the consequences," he said.
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