UGA police investigate missing drugs within tennis programs

by: AP | May 16, 2017

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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The University of Georgia police department is investigating the possible theft of prescription drugs within the school's tennis programs.

Georgia has suspended men's and women's assistant coaches, Bo Hodge and Drake Bernstein, respectively.

The investigation and suspensions of the top assistants come as Georgia prepares to host the men's and women's NCAA championships. The round of 16 begins Thursday in the men's and women's draws.

UGA police were contacted on May 7 to investigate the possible theft and/or mishandling of drugs valued up to $1,500, according to a UGA police incident report obtained by The Associated Press. According to the report, men's coach Manuel Diaz first reported the theft of the medication from the athletic association.

Diaz said Tuesday he could not talk about the incident. He said he has discussed the matter with his players.

"It's an ongoing investigation and we'll just have to let the law enforcement folks do their job," Diaz said. "We've counseled the kids and the kids are in a good place and we're moving forward."

Diaz said the incident has not drawn the interest of the NCAA.

"I've been told there is no NCAA investigation, whatsoever," he said.

According to the incident report, UGA police were called to the tennis center on May 7. The report filed by officer J. Gagliano also stated the complaint was "related to the possible theft and mishandling of prescription medication involving a number of individuals within the tennis program."

The report mentioned no names of those involved.

Diaz said all players are "absolutely" active.

Georgia freshman Robert Loeb, who plays with Jan Zielinski on the nation's top-ranked doubles team, said the investigation will not be a distraction. He said the message from Diaz was "we just need to move forward. We can't control that. We just need to move forward and stay positive."

Georgia women's coach Jeff Wallace declined to comment on the investigation during a news conference on Tuesday which was previously planned to preview the tournament.

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