Desi Green Ousted on the Brink of History
Former UB wrestler kicked off team because of drug use
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Should Desi Green have been dismissed from the wrestling team?
Last year, Desi Green annihilated almost every opponent who dared challenge him and became the pride of the UB wrestling team and the athletics department. He was the first junior to reach 100 wins and was set to break even more records this season.
That will not happen.
Marijuana got in his way.
At the end of last season, the UB wrestling team dismissed arguably the greatest wrestler it has ever had for drug use.
"Yes, I smoke marijuana," Green said. "But I have never been [academically] ineligible. I was a full-time varsity athlete. We were getting up at 6 in the morning, going to practice, and then going to classes, and going to practice after that. I still made sure I kept my grades good, which was hard for me because I was never school-oriented."
The first test was administered after coaches noticed Green wearing a pair of earrings shaped like cannabis plants, according to the former wrestler.
When he failed his first test, he said, other athletes in his circle started to be called in for testing.
"They say it was random," Green said. "I only hang out with about six or seven athletes, and after my first failed test, all of those athletes got tested...People probably look at everybody I hang out with differently now because of everything."
Green – a 22-year-old social sciences major – said he smokes marijuana to relax and insists his habit had no effect on his performance. Marijuana, unlike steroids, does not enhance athletic ability, Green said.
In fact, some suggest it could be detrimental to performance. Not in Green's case, judging from his record.
Last year, Green won his second consecutive Mid-American Conference championship in his weight class. He seemed to be on track to become the best UB wrestler ever.
"Desi has turned into an all-around great wrestler," said head coach Jim Beichner after Desi's MAC Championship win last season. "He's a two-time MAC champ and he could probably become the all-time wins leader at Buffalo. He's breaking all the records and doing all the right stuff."
Green feels indebted to Beichner for the opportunities the coach gave him.
Beichner, however, does not reciprocate. He refused to comment on Green's case as he felt he had nothing positive to say, according to the athletic department.
The athletics department also declined to comment on the story or answer questions about Green except to release a short statement:
"Senior Desi Green is no longer a part of the University at Buffalo wrestling program. Green was dismissed from the team due to multiple violations of team and university policies and will not return for the 2011-12 season," the statement read.
Desi did try to kick his habit. In fact, last season he had three consecutive urine tests that came out clean. But the athletics department remained suspicious. Some thought he was cheating. Once, he said administrators required someone to be present and watch him urinate into a cup.
He tried. But it was hard to quit.
He wanted to wrestle.
But he also wanted to smoke.
"I thought I held up my end of the bargain," Green said. "I did a whole lot of stuff as far as wrestling and school-wise. I figure if I want to sit at home and smoke some marijuana, not harming anybody, and never do I get in trouble for it, I'm eligible. I was doing great in wrestling."
Green learned to fight on the tough Rochester streets and put his skills to use in the wrestling ring. His infatuation with marijuana was also part of his past – a part he could not overcome.