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J.T. Barrett Ohio State Buckeyes QB Suffers Consequences After Arrest

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Ohio State University quarterback J.T. Barrett was arrested for operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content above the legal limit recently.

J.T. Barrett Ohio State Buckeyes QB Arrested

At just twenty years old, J.T. Barrett is not legally old enough to drink at all, yet like many college students his age, he did anyway. Just one week after his first start of the season for Ohio State, Barrett found himself at a Columbus police checkpoint. After failing a Breathalyzer test, he was arrested and later released into the custody of a teammate.

Consideration of punishment

In addition to the repercussions of the arrest itself, for which he’ll face arraignment in the coming weeks, J.T. Barrett’s punishment includes forfeiture of his scholarship for one semester, and a one-game suspension.

But is this punishment adequate for the crime?

The scholarship Barrett will lose is for the 2016 summer session (i.e., a time when most students don’t attend classes anyway). He’ll also sit out the game on November 7 to serve his team suspension.

Coach Urban Meyer, the decision-maker behind the one-game suspension, took a sympathetic view of the redshirt sophomore’s arrest.

“I love J.T.,” Meyer said. “But J.T. is going to deal with something he’s never had to deal with before. Now there is some question about who you are. … 20 years of doing something right, 30 seconds of doing wrong.”

But others are not so sure the consequences match the offense. Jane McManus of says the penalty doesn’t go far enough, and that it sets a poor precedent in a space that needs tougher standards.

“College campuses are often where young people are making decisions about alcohol independently for the first time in their lives,” she writes. “To have an underage drinker so visibly cited for OVI [operating a vehicle while intoxicated; Ohio’s equivalent of a DUI] and have such a disjointed penalty sets a terrible example.”

McManus is right: College years are a particularly vulnerable time for young people. In most cases, it is the first time in students’ lives that they experience true independence, free from the governance of their parents. As such, they are faced with an onslaught of social decisions, including whether or not to use drugs and/or alcohol.  Pressure to fit in, curiosity to experiment, and newfound independence often lead to participation in one or both.

Unfortunately, once college students start drinking, statistics show that for many, their drinking habits become problematic. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 20% of college students meet the criteria of alcohol use disorder (compared to about 7% of the general adult population).

With the potential for alcohol abuse so high during college years, and a blatant disregard for the law (remember, J.T. Barrett isn’t even old enough to legally drink yet), Jane McManus’ questioning of Barrett’s punishment seems quite valid.

Seeking help for alcohol use disorder

While AUD is particularly high among college-aged adults, people of all ages can be affected. If you are struggling to cope with alcoholism, or want to find care for a loved one who is, The Watershed can help. Give us a call any time: 1-800-861-1768.

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