Oregon's Carrington, Forde Benched After Positive Drug Tests – ABC News
Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington and running back Ayele Forde will not play in Monday’s national championship game after positive NCAA drug tests, coach Mark Helfrich said Saturday.
Carrington did not travel with the team to Dallas after testing positive for marijuana. The results of Forde’s test were not immediately clear.
Helfrich said the team has faced many issues during the season, including injuries. But he insisted that the team is not distracted heading into the first College Football Playoff title game.
“How you manage those things is what matters most. And our guys have managed all those situations very, very well,” Helfrich said.
Not having Carrington leaves the Ducks down two key wide receivers against Ohio State. Carrington, a 6-foot-2, 191-pound redshirt freshman, had seven catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns in Oregon’s Rose Bowl victory over Florida State.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said the team was disappointed. He hadn’t been able to talk to Carrington.
“But at the same time I think a lot of guys feel guilty like they should have helped, including myself,” Mariota said. “It’s tough. But we’ll have to be ready for the next one, whoever the next guy is to step up.”
Last week Oregon lost redshirt freshman receiver Devon Allen on the opening kickoff with a knee injury. Allen had 41 catches for 684 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Ducks have also been playing for the last four games without star tight end Pharoah Brown, who went down with a season-ending leg injury against Utah.
And before the season started, junior receiver Bralon Addison tore a ligament in his left knee. Although Addison said Saturday at the team’s media availability in Dallas that he could play in the championship game, Oregon’s coaches don’t want to burn his redshirt year.
“We’ve had stuff happen all year long where a guys missed and the next guy has jumped in there and done a great job,” receivers coach Matt Lubick said. “Our guys are going to be fine.”
Carrington’s absence leaves Oregon, which regularly uses three- and four-receiver formations, with Byron Marshall (66 catches for 834 yards), Dwayne Stafford (39 for 578), Keanon Lowe (25 for 359) and freshman Charles Nelson (11 for 101) to rely on.
“We all know as receivers that we’re going to have to step up. It’s the last game of the season. We’re going to have to make plays and play basically our best game ever,” Nelson said. “But losing him, losing a great receiver and a great kid with a great talent, it’s sad.”
Forde, a running back who is a contributor on special teams, played in all 14 games this season, with three carries for 17 yards. He had a carry for five yards in the Pac-12 championship against Arizona.
The NCAA does random drug testing for championship events and bowl games. Those tests can be done before or after an event and the school is given no notice about which players will be tested or how many players.
A failed test for recreational drugs results in the NCAA requiring the school to declare the player ineligible. The penalty for a failed test is 50 percent of a season, which means Carrington and Forde could miss up to five games next season.
Oregon can appeal the NCAA ruling and ask that a player be reinstated.
“I think anytime you put something in your body that doesn’t belong there it’s a bad decision,” Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost said.
In November, voters in Oregon approved Measure 91, which legalizes marijuana for recreational purposes. However, the law does not take effect until July 1.
Associated Press College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo and AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.