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Don’t Link the Drug Mess to Kelly

On April 30th, ESPN the Magazine will be running a special NFL Draft edition. Included in the magazine will be a couple articles on marijuana and college sports, namely football. There’s even an article that highlights Oregon specifically, not only the University of Oregon but the community that’s one “of the country’s largest producers of weed.”

With the focus on the football team, along with opening and closing the article that spectates a current Ducks player on the team, it adds more things for the program to deflect. Chip Kelly will no doubt be the spotlight of the situation as it unfolds.

Dec 31, 2011; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly at press conference for the 2012 Rose Bowl at the Marriott Los Angeles Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Already this calendar year, Kelly flirted with potentially becoming the next Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach in late January. On February 17th, former coach Mike Bellotti forced Oregon to report a minor recruiting violation based on what Chip Kelly told him about a few players in an ESPN interview.

That was well-forgotten when, just a week later, the NCAA reported they found Kelly using “three scouting services did not conform with NCAA rules, and the Ducks exceeded the number of coaches allowed to recruit.” Essentially, the football program wasn’t monitored correctly, putting the blame solely on Kelly.

Based on the history, it’s only natural for many people to assume that Kelly is letting marijuana use happen in his program freely. While he didn’t make a comment on the article in ESPN the Magazine, the author did note a researcher and former player acknowledged the culture has become smaller as Kelly is cracking down on it as much as possible.

Whether you like Kelly’s approach on limiting availability to the media or not, it’s the way that he wants to handle things to keep his team focused and to be one of the best teams in the nation. You can’t argue with the results in his three years as head coach. The NCAA investigation is still ongoing, and all we can do is speculate on what’s happened until all the information has been released.

There’s also two aspects that people need to remember in this issue:

  • It is a big culture in the west coast as the other states that are ranked as high as Oregon is Washington and California. Oregon has not only decriminalized small possessions of pot since 1973, but they now have “more than 55,000 card-carrying patients.”
  • This is not only an Oregon issue, it’s a culture that’s developed all over the country in the current generation at these colleges. “About 70 percent confessed to smoking pot” according to an NFL senior executive at the combine.

To throw in Kelly’s name is pointless in this argument. He wants success at his program, and will not tolerate this happening on his team. It’s a culture that’s simply apart of Oregon, and the current generation is much more accepting to this activity. The topic that should be discussed is how much of an issue this really is and how it affects performance on the teams that have developed a bigger culture of it.

Follow Brian Spaen on Twitter @Spaeniard and what’s happening in Autzen Zoo @Autzen_Zoo. You can also like us on Facebook at Autzen Zoo.

Take a look at some of his other work, including the lacrosse blog Around the Crease and opinionated blog The World of Santa Destroy.

Topics: California, Chip Kelly, Drug Use, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Oregon Ducks, Pot Smoking, Washington, West Coast

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