Distressing news from UK this morning that Jeremy Jarmon has tested positive for a banned substance. The NCAA has suspended him for one year, effectively ending his UK career. The presser was handled with a lot of class by Mitch Barnhart and Jarmon, who apparently asked to address the public.
Jarmon had a rather lengthy explanation regarding the use of an over the counter weight loss supplement that apparently is banned by the NCAA. When I hear these explanations from pro athletes, I never believe them. (See Ramirez, Manny). I'll give Jarmon the benefit of the doubt, both because he seems like a good kid, but also because his story was almost too detailed not to be true.
Midway through, Jarmon wept openly when discussing what UK Football meant to him. The realization that he had let his teammates down seemed to hit him at that moment. Make no mistake, he is right. We've lost one of the four best players on the team at a position that was already among the team's weakest. At the close of spring practice, the only question mark on the defensive side was who would start opposite Jarmon at end. Now we have two slots to fill with unproven talent. Jeremy was the team's only consistent pass rushing threat. Outside of Micah Johnson and perhaps Randall Cobb, I think Jarmon was the worst person we could have lost.
With all said and done, I feel far worse for Jarmon than I do for the Cats. He made a mistake, but even if his story is totally false, the mistake would be an understandable one. Jarmon was told merely months ago that he was a marginal NFL prospect, and decided to come back to school. His junior campaign was, statistically at least, not as good as his sophomore year. A lot was hanging in the balance. Can you blame a kid who tries to get an extra edge in this situation? Now not only has he lost his senior football season, but he missed the draft and his chances to play in the NFL would appear slim. I hope in the coming days he gets some good advice about his options. I assume because he did not declare, he cannot play in the NFL next year. There could be a supplemental draft (a la Brian Bosworth, circa 1987), but I have no idea how this works. However it shakes out, this is a devastating blow for a young guy.
Finally, one word about Mitch Barnhart. Many things have been said about him. These days he looks like a genius, but he isn't that far removed from all of Kentucky calling for his head. He isn't flashy, and he doesn't always do what the faithful think need to be done. But the understated and classy way he handled the conference today should make people connected with the program extremely proud. He is a truly decent guy.
Arden Key’s Wednesday News and Views
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