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Michigan’s Mitch McGary enters 2014 NBA Draft under less than ideal circumstances

Apr 25, 2014, 9:37 AM EDT

With Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III having already decided to enter the 2014 NBA Draft, the Michigan basketball program was still waiting to find out what sophomore forward Mitch McGary would do. Friday morning the school announced that McGary, who played in just eight games this past season due to a lower back injury, would forego his final two seasons of eligibility to enter the NBA Draft.

However, what is normally seen as a joyous occasion for an athlete may not exactly be the case for McGary. Why? Because in the announcement, McGary also disclosed that he was facing a year-long suspension after failing an NCAA-administered drug test during the NCAA tournament.

“My family and I want to thank everyone for giving us privacy and the time to make this decision,” McGary said in the release. “As you know, it was important for us to weigh all the factors that go into something like this. With that being said, I am ready to move on to the next stage in my life and enter the NBA Draft.

“Being a part of a program that values integrity, it is important to let everyone know of a poor decision I recently made. I tested positive for marijuana during the NCAA Tournament. We were notified of that result after the Final Four. I regret thoroughly disappointing my family, coaches and administration. Despite all of this they have been understanding and helpful over the last couple of weeks.

“I take full responsibility for this poor choice and want to apologize to everyone, especially those I have grown close to during my fabulous two years at the University of Michigan.”

Following every NCAA tournament game the governing body randomly selects a couple players to undergo a drug test, and the penalty for failing are quite severe. Failing an NCAA-administered drug test carries a one-year suspension, even for a drug such as marijuana.

As for drug tests administered by schools throughout the season, the consequences for a first-time positive are generally far less severe since they’re allowed to set their own policies. Michigan’s policy is that an athlete would spend a week away from the team miss 10% of the team’s games for a first-time positive.

The NCAA in mid-April announced that one of the changes being considered was the lessening of penalties for testing positive for marijuana, with the governing body ruling that it is not a performance-enhancing drug. However with that change not going into effect until August 1, that clearly wasn’t going to help McGary’s case. Under that new policy, a positive test would cost an athlete half their season as opposed to all of it.

But even with that being the case many will wonder how (or why) a player who wasn’t playing due to injury would be drawn for a random drug test. Unfortunately for Michigan, they’ll be without a key interior component as a result.

The Wolverines have now lost McGary, Jordan Morgan (graduation) and Jon Horford (transfer) from its front court, meaning that young players such as redshirt freshman Mark Donnal, redshirt junior Max Bielfeldt and newcomers Ricky Doyle and D.J. Wilson will have a lot on their collective shoulders in 2014-15.

  1. tigersfandan - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    How many other people has this happened to? According to PBT, if he’d failed a Michigan test, he’d only have gotten three games. Mark Emmert must go!

  2. fnc111 - Apr 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM


    • tigersfandan - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      How original!

  3. oruacat2 - Apr 25, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Ridiculous – the guy wasn’t even an active player at the time. He was injured.

  4. ccrabtree2015 - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Okay, so the guy smoked some pot at some point. It affects the brain for several hours. Why do companies care if someone smokes pot? I simply don’t get it.

  5. anythingbutyanks - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    I’m not sure how this works and am certainly NOT accusing McGary of anything, but do we really know that his failed test was for marijuana? Isn’t the athlete the ONLY person who can disclose what the failed test was for, since the test is considered a medical examination and protected under HIPPA or some other laws? I have nothing against McGary whatsoever, but I’m always skeptical in these types of cases where the failed drug test is, according to the guilty party, almost invariably for the most socially acceptable drug (adderall, marijuana, etc).

  6. ceraser45 - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Well he decided to dress out for the game, so he became an active player and was tested. It is a RULE, thats why people are against it. It is a drug and it is illegal. Learn some facts, he is the one that screwed up

    • dangle13x - Apr 25, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      It’s actually perfectly legal in CO and WA. Medicinally in 21 states, such as MI. Decriminalized all over the country, including several counties in MI.

      People are saying the punishment is excessive given the role marijuana has taken in American society. But I guess you’re right and I should learn some facts.

      • florida727 - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        Unfortunately for your rationale, the Final Four was played in TEXAS where it is an ILLEGAL drug.

      • koufaxmitzvah - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        Pot stays in the system for a month. And never mind that this has nothing to do with Texas. But, yeah, Florida, great point!

  7. kountryking - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    The NCAA is a dinosaur in the college sports world. So many of its policies are throwbacks. A one-year suspension for smoking a joint is like 25-to-life for jaywalking. Yes, the policy was in place and the young man was foolish to toke. But to punish him so drastically and his team as well is overkill. I doubt he’ll make the NBA nor finish college. Damned shame!

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