One day after a report claimed that Auburn paid players and altered grades under former head coach Gene Chizik, another report cast light on a number of failed drug tests that the school decided to keep confidential.
ESPN The Magazine's Shaun Assael reported the results of a six-month investigation Thursday that found an "epidemic" of synthetic marijuana use during their 2010 national championship run. According to the report, 12 Auburn players — including star running back Michael Dyer — tested positive for synthetic marijuana.
From Assael's report:
In one extreme case, a freshman tight end, Dakota Mosley, failed seven consecutive weekly tests for the drug, but never was punished. (He was suspended for three months in a separate incident after he tested positive for marijuana.) The Arkansas native says he learned he'd failed a sixth test on the same day he was scheduled to meet with NCAA investigators to discuss a probe into potential recruiting violations.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs told ESPN that the program was aware of the failed drug tests, but did not even tell the players' parents because the use of synthetic marijuana was a relatively new phenomenon. The NCAA did not officially ban the substance until December 2010. Jacobs said that it was not part of the university's official policy, and the program could not discipline students for using it.
"We did all we could do to educate our student-athletes until [we] could understand exactly what we're dealing with," Jacobs told ESPN. "I think just like the rest of the campus, and the nation, we were trying to figure it out."