The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Hannah Jenkins
Hannah Jenkins
Copy Editor

Hi! My name is Hannah Jenkins, and I am one of the copy editors here at the North Wind. I am a sophomore at NMU, and I love all things writing and editing-related. I am proud to be a part of this great...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal Wiertella March 1, 2024

Athletes face suspension

Ten members of NMU’s football team have been suspended for one game for violating team policy by failing a drug test, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Northern Michigan University Division II football team held their annual Spring Game last weekend on Saturday, April 12. Nine players on the team were suspended prior to the game for violating team policy. (Anthony Viola/NW)
The Northern Michigan University Division II football team held their annual Spring Game last weekend on Saturday, April 12. Nine players on the team were suspended prior to the game for violating team policy.
(Anthony Viola/NW)

A source close to the team said junior wide receiver Aamad Bush, junior wide receiver Terrance Dye, junior offensive lineman Ken Kalish, sophomore defensive back Deionte Bruton,  sophomore wide receiver Demarco Haynes, sophomore linebacker Ross Querro, sophomore linebacker Dalton Stenberg, sophomore cornerback Malik Walker, freshman wide receiver Marcus Smith, Jr. and freshman quarterback Jaranta Lewis were the players who failed drug tests.

An NMU football player confirmed, under condition of anonymity, that 10 football players tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical found in marijuana.

With the exception of Lewis, all of the players were also suspended for last Saturday’s annual Spring Game, the source said. Barring appeal, all 10 players are expected to sit the 2014 season opener at home against Northwood, the source said.

Story continues below advertisement

Anthony Reynolds, NMU’s sports information director, confirmed that the nine players who didn’t participate in the spring game committed a team violation, though he couldn’t specify the nature of the violation.

Head football coach Chris Ostrowsky was unable to be interviewed due to a personal matter, and directed all questions to NMU Athletic Director Forrest Karr.

While the nine players suspended for the spring game weren’t in attendance, Lewis split time at quarterback along with freshman Shaye Brown. NMU’s two other quarterbacks, junior Ryan Morley and junior Dustin Thomas, were out with injuries.

“Jaranta Lewis played when he was supposed to sit out with the rest of the people who failed (the drug test),” the source said. “But he played I guess because we, as a football team, would look very stupid if Brown was the only one playing while two other quarterbacks are already sitting out.”

Lewis declined to comment.

According to the NCAA, “Each NCAA member is responsible for determining whether to establish an institutional drug-testing program, at which time the school would be responsible for determining applicable penalties.”

While the NCAA conducts year-round drug testing, failure of which results in a year-long loss of a player’s eligibility, NMU’s “Drug Education and Testing Policy” outlines specific penalties for failing a test issued by the school.

According to the policy, any student-athlete’s first positive drug test results in a suspension “from 10% of all regularly scheduled competitions during the current championship segment, or the subsequent championship segment if the positive test occurs during the non-championship segment.”

The policy also states that the student-athlete’s head coach, with approval from the athletic director, has “the option to impose additional sanctions including, but not limited to, indefinite suspension, revoking team privileges, travel, dismissal from the team, and/or termination of some or all athletic grant-in-aid.”

Karr declined to answer questions about specific players, but said he distributed the policy to all of NMU’s student-athletes at the beginning of the fall semester. Each student-athlete returned a signed copy acknowledging they would comply with the policy.

“We’re doing drug education on an on-going basis, bringing in speakers and different things,” Karr said. “The testing part of the program we didn’t implement until this semester.”

So far, three sets of drug tests which tested around 60 student-athletes each time throughout all 13 intercollegiate sports have been performed, spaced “approximately five weeks apart” throughout the semester, Karr said. The most recent test was performed toward the end of March.

Karr also sits on the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, and spearheaded NMU’s drug testing program.

Talking about the penalties specified in the policy, Karr acknowledged that Northern was on “the strict end of things.”

“There are many schools across the country that have testing policies for what are called ‘street drugs,’ or recreational drugs, where if you fail the first time you don’t miss any games,” Karr said. “We decided that it was important that there would be some type of penalty.”

Karr said the education components of the policy, including being required to meet with a counselor in the event of a positive drug test as well as performing 20 hours of community service, is meant to improve and educate players to prevent future issues.

“There’s more than just the part about missing games,” Karr said.

Karr said that NMU’s program including testing for street drugs was decided in part due to anticipation of a change in the NCAA program, which tests for performance-enhancing drugs and may begin testing for street drugs year-round. Currently, the NCAA only tests for street drugs at a championship event.

However, that concern is secondary to ensuring the protection of the players.

“Our No. 1 priority is the health and safety of the student athletes,” Karr said. “Our second priority is to have the student athletes perform their best and get the most out of themselves in the classroom and on the field of competition.

“That’s why we’re trying really hard and aggressively to become a completely drug-free program and drug-free department.”

Karr said that the policy will be reviewed annually, but that the future of the drug-testing program at NMU is clear.

“Each summer we will get together to find ways to tweak it and improve it,” Karr said. “But it’s not going away.”

More to Discover