LAGRANGE, Georgia — Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has not yet decided on the type of punishment he will levy on four football players arrested for marijuana possession Saturday.
Malzahn spoke publicly for the first time on the arrests of sophomores Byron Cowart, Carlton Davis, Ryan Davis and Jeremiah Dinson outside a booster club event Wednesday.
“Still gathering some information, but once we do, we’ll take care of it appropriately,” Malzahn said.
The four players, including All-SEC freshman Davis, were released on $500 bond and are set to appear in court June 21, according to the Lee County Detention Center. They were arrested on misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession at 11 p.m. Saturday on the 100 block of E. Samford Avenue, which is near the Auburn campus.
Malzahn said twice he would not “get into the details” when asked about the players’ upcoming punishment or if the players are on probationary status.
When asked if the four players had kept out of trouble on and off the field before the incident, Malzahn responded: “I would say that our whole team has done an excellent job of just being good citizens, good in the classroom. You look at our team GPA, it’s the highest it’s been in Auburn history. You look at our APR in the last four-year period, it’s the highest in history. We’ve got a lot of positives going on, so any time something like that does happen, obviously it’s disappointing. But we have a bunch of fine young men in our program.”
Auburn’s drug-testing policy is clear and follows a five-point system:
- One Point: No loss of playing time, one year probationary period.
- Two Points: Suspension for 25 percent of team’s competitive season.
- Three Points: Suspension of 50 percent of team’s competitive season.
- Four Points: Suspension of 100 percent of team’s competitive season.
- Five Points: Permanent loss of playing status at Auburn University.
Arrests involving drugs and the subsequent punishments, however, are vague within the handbook. The clearest line follows:
“The AU investigation and possible penalties are separate and apart from any criminal prosecution resulting from the incident. In most cases, the AU investigation and penalties would occur well in advance of the legal disposition of the matter.”
Carlton Davis was an All-SEC freshman at cornerback last season for the Tigers, leading the team with three interceptions, and is expected to be a starter in 2016.
Cowart entered the 2015 season as the nation’s top strong-side defensive end and No. 3 player overall. He played in all 13 games, but finished with only six tackles. Dinson played in nine games and started one last season (nine tackles) before he suffered a knee and shoulder injury against Texas A&M late in the season. He did not participate in spring practices as he continued to rehabilitate from the injuries.
Ryan Davis played in eight games and had two rushes for 20 yards.
It remains to be seen what punishment Malzahn will hand down on the players. Facing similar charges, Auburn cornerback Jonathon Mincy and quarterback Nick Marshall (citation with no arrest) missed all or a portion of the first half of the season opener in 2014 against Arkansas.
Auburn opens the season at Jordan-Hare Stadium Sept. 3 against Clemson, last year’s national runner-up.