- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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The sophomore running back, dismissed from the program earlier this month following a Dec. 27 arrest for marijuana possession, made his case for a return Sunday in a meeting with reporters. In this video, Robinson apologies for his transgressions, discusses his plans to begin drug counseling in Iowa City and talks about how he passed up opportunities to play football elsewhere in order to return to Iowa and continue his education there.
There's also an interesting subplot relating to the concussions Robinson suffered late in the season. His mother contends that the concussion caused problematic symptoms for Robinson, which likely impacted his academic performance.
Although Robinson never was ruled academically ineligible, he missed the first quarter of a Nov. 20 game against Ohio State for what coach Kirk Ferentz called "academic indigestion" and later was suspended for the Insight Bowl.
"When I was going through all the concussion-ary symptoms, I wasn’t necessarily able to get all of my study hours at the learning center,” he said. “I felt they should've backed off on my hours, especially when I was at the peak of having concussion-ary symptoms -- headaches, things like that. That didn't happen."
Robinson said he understood the risks of using marijuana and only did so "once in a while." He admitted that his usage increased after the initial concussion but doesn't directly connect the two, calling it "a very stressful time." He also vowed that he's making the necessary changes to his life.
"I hope my actions this semester will show I've changed, and I'm changing,” Robinson said. “I realize I've made some bad choices. Hopefully, with the progress I'm planning to make, it will re-open the door."
Does Robinson deserve another shot at Iowa?
Let me first say that no matter what happens with football, I'm glad Robinson is back at school and trying to address his issues both off the field and in the classroom. He's not running away from his problems and he sounds genuinely remorseful about what happened. Even if he's not allowed back on the team -- an understandable decision -- I hope he continues to work toward his degree.
As my guy Marc Morehouse points out, Robinson's problems seem to occur when he's home in Des Moines. He seems better off in Iowa City.
The key issue here is timing. Robinson left Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz no choice when his marijuana arrest came just days after the Derrell Johnson-Koulianos mess and Iowa's drug testing program for athletes being placed in the national spotlight.
"I can definitely understand from coach Ferentz's point," Robinson said. "He was taking a lot of heat for what was going on. He did give me a lot of opportunities and I just wasn’t able to abide by the rules."
Robinson's mother added: "I would hope that had it been a different time, Kirk would have looked at it a little different, but I certainly understand the stress he was under."
Robinson and his mother are right. If Robinson's arrest takes place a few months earlier, he's most likely still with the team. It didn't help that the arrest came after his academic troubles, but the timing was undoubtedly the biggest factor working against him.
While Ferentz probably wasn't thrilled to see Robinson appeal to the media, I hope he considers reinstating the running back under strict conditions:
Robinson should have to complete his drug counseling program
He must subject to frequent drug testing
He must remain in excellent academic standing (excellent isn't a 2.5 GPA) with no legal issues
He can return under a zero tolerance policy, meaning any transgression on the field, off the field or in the classroom results in automatic dismissal
If Robinson can meet the demands, he deserves a second chance.
Then again, Ferentz has every right to stick to his initial decision.
Robinson's decisions were bad. His timing was worse. But he still could turn things around.
3dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
4dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney