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Irish Great Oscar McBride Talks About CFB's Crazy Drug Epidemic

"What the HELL is going on here?!?!?!?"

Violating team rules; you know the phrase. The standard college football coachspeak for "my players are smoking blunts when they should be studying." Notre Dame fans are especially irritated by the phrase at the moment, as starting running back Cierre Wood has been suspended for the first two games of the year for a "team rules violation".

These violations are becoming a problem, bordering on an epidemic in college football. Yesterday former Irish football great Oscar McBride, who played under Lou Holtz and later went to the NFL to play for the Arizona Cardinals, reached out to me to discuss the issue and how schools should start handling it. Below is a piece written in two sections -- the first by McBride, as he voices his opinion on the matter -- the second, a solution to the problem proposed by yours truly.

Oscar McBride on "Violating Team Rules"

After careful consideration I've decided to take a closer look at the epidemic that is sweeping the country. More and more student-athletes are being suspended for "violating team rules," so I thought we would put the situation under a microscope to see what's really going on.

Yes, it’s official that the Honey Badger will not be at LSU this fall for “violating team rules…” Cierre Wood will not be starting in the backfield for the Irish for the first couple of weeks of the season due to “violating team rules…” Kansas suspended its long snapper Justin Carnes for “violating team rules…” Tennessee wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers was suspended for “violating team rules” then transferred… Auburn suspended wide receiver DeAngelo Benton for “violating team rules” and now three wide receivers from East Carolina were just suspended for… yup - you guessed it... “violating team rules.”

What the HELL is going on here?!?!?!?

This really pisses me off… simply because the schools are so concerned with their precious little images and the endowments coming in from alumni that they’re in denial about the truth.

Wake up people… we have a problem! A problem that's been around since Moby Dick was a minnow!

First let’s cut the crap and put it out there that “violating team rules” is code for he tested positive for or got caught smoking marijuana, weed, chronic, pot, Mary- Jane, blunts, skimbibbidy, wacky tobacky, Maui Wowee, sticky-icky or whatever you want to call it.

Has anyone bothered to wonder why all of the sudden these kids are getting suspended in droves?? C’mon – you can’t be that naive.

Here’s a question that maybe someone can answer for me: “Why is it that division 1A colleges and universities have huge budgets in their athletic departments, but not one penny is obviously being spent on substance abuse treatment and/or prevention?”

Someone…? Anyone…?

In my humble opinion these young people need help…not suspension. Wait, before anyone comes unglued – I’m not suggesting that they shouldn’t be disciplined for their actions, but what I am suggesting is that these young people need guidance and help. I know it might be news to some programs out there, but there’s more to life than just athletics. Agree with me or not (as I’ve said you can always start your own blog) these programs are aware of the problems these athletes have. Is it really a big secret?

“SSSHHHH… don’t tell coach we smoke weed!” Really? What? Is everyone becoming Jim Tressel and “unaware” of what is happening in the program?

Whatever…You mean to tell me that no one can help? Wait.. no one cares to help?

From this poor man’s perspective these institutions of higher education need to live up to what they promise these athletes and their parents when recruiting them – “take care of them.” Taking care of them doesn’t mean giving them money or a car or some lavish place to live. Helping them means living up to your end of the bargain as much as they’re supposed to on Saturday afternoon! Help them become better people…help them with their issues…help them with their studies…help them PERIOD!

Violating team rules… psssh…what a joke!

A solution to fix the problem -- my thoughts >>>

Oscar is absolutely right -- colleges and universities across the country are shirking their responsibilities as leaders and mentors. They need to take both preventative and corrective action if the problem of college drug abuse is going to be tackled, and that means much more than just judicial punishment.

Oscar points out that no school in the United States boasts a drug and rehabilitation program that is available to student athletes specifically. We know the budget and funding is present -- at least at many schools -- so what gives? Is this Genovese syndrome at its worst?

If you ask me, not only are schools not interested in shelling out the cash for such a program, but simply nobody wants to be the first to create one. The first school that would be responsible enough and caring enough to establish a drug and rehab program would unfortunately also be viewed as the school that absolutely needed it. You can hear the rumors now: "Notre Dame had so many athletes smoking dope that they had to create a rehab center on campus...I'm glad our school isn't that bad."

Yeah, okay.

College officials can get off their high horse -- drug use is rampant among student athletes across the country. And do you think coaches don't know this? If you are the head coach of a D-I football program, you know absolutely everything that is going on with all of your players. That's right, everything.

And that's why this problem is especially disconcerting. Coaches and programs as a whole are ignoring this widespread problem. Not only is this outright dishonest and disappointing, but the figures that are supposed to guide and lead young men are ultimately failing in their jobs.

Pat Forde of Yahoo wrote an excellent piece yesterday detailing how Notre Dame refuses to compromise values in order to obtain more wins easily, a la many football factories across the country. The institution prides itself on something greater than just producing a stellar football team year-in, year-out, and that is something that all Notre Dame students, alumni, and fans are proud of more than anything else.

I hope, and fully expect, that Notre Dame will continue to be a leader in moral and ethical education. I think it would be making an incredibly responsible decision if it decided to create a program to help students and athletes alike as they, like students everywhere across the country, battle obstacles as they learn and grow into great men and women.

I'm looking to you, Jack Swarbrick. Do the right thing, and help solve the problem, not be a part of it.

Be sure to check out Oscar McBride and his blog that is filled with great insights and entertaining opinions, as well as updates on all of his philanthropy. You can also reach out to him on Twitter at @ask_oscar.