Better to have no drug counseling at all than ineffective drug counseling. Just stiffen up the drug tests and let automatic dismissal serve as the deterrent.
But best to have both. Strong testing policy, plus strong counseling.
Yes, I know, drugs are a problem on every college campus, football or not. But college athletic programs have a unique opportunity to influence young people.
Every William Bell who's not a football player, every borderline pothead who leaves home for the first time, shows up on campus with no incentive to clean up.
Football coaches and their staffs provide plenty of incentive to clean up. Playing time. A scholarship. Status on the team and all the perks that go with it.
Gundy deserves credit, because he has cleaned up his program, to some degree. The stories are legion of how Gundy had to sweep up after Miles departed, and SI's reports certainly support that. Virtually all of the allegations, in every installment, stem from 2007 or before, and the majority are pre-2005, when Gundy took over.
But it would be even better if OSU could clean up more lives. That's happened some. Strengthen the substance abuse program, and it could clean up many more.
Remember Monday, when AD Mike Holder said that in some ways, Sports Illustrated is to be thanked, for bringing problems to OSU's attention. I don't know how his heart could have been all in it at that point.
But it can be now. The Cowboys seem to be weathering the storm, and SI gave OSU a valuable reminder. If you're going to recruit potheads, borderline or not, be prepared to deal with them.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.