On Thursday, the NCAA declared Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd ineligible for two games and fined him $2,700 (to be paid to charity). As he already missed one game this season, Floyd will only have to sit out this weekend's game against UAB before he can return to game action.
But sit back down, this story is just beginning to get good. After the ruling came out, the Gators released this statement:
It is important to note that Sharrif brought this matter to our attention and we reported the facts to the NCAA this past February. We were comfortable with the information we provided, yet the NCAA staff interpreted that there were violations. In accordance with NCAA rules, we declared him ineligible for the season opener and requested restoration of his eligibility. Sharrif has been extremely forthcoming throughout the process and the NCAA has commented on his honesty and openness.
Sharrif grew up in an environment where he didn't have the things most of us take for granted - food, shelter and clothing. In the absence of parents, there were kind people, in no way affiliated with the University of Florida, who were not boosters or sports agents, that helped him along the way to provide those things that he would otherwise not have had. This is not an issue about his recruitment to the University of Florida or any other University.
So the NCAA has ruled Floyd ineligible because he was born into a bad situation and kind people were there to help him? People gave him money for food and general life expenses, and provided him with the opportunity to visit colleges when he wouldn't have been able to otherwise. Great job, NCAA! You're setting a wonderful precedent with this one.
Message to anyone hoping to play for an NCAA team: "If you're poor, deal with it 'cause we won't let you play anyway."
I think Will Muschamp's statement is my favorite, though...
I'm angered, disgusted and extremely disappointed that Sharrif will have to miss two games.
In my opinion Sharrif is getting lumped into what is bad about college athletics. As we indicated in the statement Saturday night his issue was not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else.
Sharrif is what is good about college athletics - his life is about survival, struggle, disappointment and adversity. I have recruited kids that did not know where they would sleep that night or what they would eat. Growing up, Sharrif was one these kids. Sharrif's life is also about triumph, honesty, integrity, determination, perseverance and character. The NCAA stated that he received preferential treatment; there is nothing preferential about his life.
He grew up with only his great grandmother and still sends her Pell Grant money so she can pay her bills. How many kids do you know that would do that? I know one - Sharrif Floyd. (Full statement here.)
Give 'em hell, Will. This is a frustrating decision by the NCAA, and I'm glad Florida is willing to stand up for their players. There's nothing that can be done at this point, but at least they aren't going to stand idly by and let the NCAA criticize Floyd's integrity.
For more on this story, check out the reaction over at Alligator Army.