Wednesday, December 6, 2023

BREAKING NEWS: Smoker family, Mason and Williams make statements on Smokers violation of team rules

Smoker family statement (parents Sue and Jay and brothers, Bob and Craig):

“We feel like the time has come to share some information about Jeff Smoker’s personal struggle with substance abuse. We had hoped to keep this matter private until Jeff was well and ready to speak about it, but it appears that we cannot have that luxury. Jeff apparently has been fighting this battle alone for some time. When Bobby Williams and the rest of the staff became aware of Jeff’s problem, they responded immediately and for this we are grateful. The University, coaching staff, and support personnel have been extremely professional and supportive in handling this situation.

“We’re also thankful that Jeff requested help in overcoming his struggle. We certainly know that he’s in good hands, receiving the best care available. We will continue to support him with our thoughts and prayers throughout this recovery process, and greatly appreciate those who choose to do the same.

“During the past week, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, the Spartan football program and its fans. There have even been fans and alumni around the country who have never met Jeff personally, but chose to contact us and voice their support and encouragement.

“It’s premature to talk about Jeff’s future as a student-athlete. We want Jeff to concentrate on winning this personal struggle. It is his responsibility to get well and stay well. When he’s well, he can make informed decisions about continuing his education and football career. We’re confident that Jeff will do what is in his best interest.

“We are fully aware that Jeff’s personal problems have affected many others. To us, he is our 21-year-old son or brother. To others, he is a friend, a teammate, a player, a captain, and to some children maybe even a role model. Jeff has made bad decisions and for that there are consequences. Jeff also has decided, on his own, that he can no longer do this to himself, those who care about him, and those who depend on him. We are truly sorry for the distraction this has brought to a program that gave him this wonderful opportunity. Our only wish now is that we may focus our energy solely on Jeff’s recovery, and that the Spartan staff may focus their energy on coaching the football team.”

Statement from athletics director Ron Mason:

“MSU will continue to support Jeff Smoker as he confronts the challenge before him. I call us all to look at Jeff beyond his quarterback role, because he is a young man fighting a very difficult human battle. And support is crucial. Substance abuse, a serious issue in our society, must be met head-on by those of us in leadership roles, especially in roles dealing with young people. Jeff’s situation, we hope, is an isolated one, both in its nature and degree. But as Athletics Director I have been made aware of rumors from within and outside the football program involving possible related matters. I have carefully pursued these rumors and to methods to assure us all about any possible additional problems. There are, of course, matters I cannot legally discuss publicly. But I can assure everyone that nothing to date - absolutely nothing - indicates any NCAA infractions. I am working closely with Bobby Williams on this matter and I will continue to mandate that the drug-testing program be aggressive, thorough, and as conclusive as possible. There should be no doubt whatsoever about my personal commitment on this.”

Statement from head coach Bobby Williams:

“Jeff Smoker’s health and well being remain my top priority. I’ll provide whatever support I can to help Jeff win his personal battle. My thoughts and prayers are with Jeff and his family during this difficult time.”


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