Antonio Callaway

Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Antonio Callaway, Jordan Scarlett among 9 Florida Gators facing felony charges

8 Comments

Felony charges have been filed against Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett for their involvement in an incident regarding the inappropriate use of school funds. And that’s just the beginning.

The state attorney’s office has reportedly filed felony charges against several Florida players on Monday. Callaway and Scarlett were each charged with third-degree felony charges. So was defensive lineman Jordan Smith. Other players reportedly facing felonies include defensive end Keivonnis Davis, wide receiver Rick Wells, linebackers James Houston and Ventrell Miller, and defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones.

It was reported last week all of the players currently serving an indefinite suspension in Gainesville could be facing felony charges.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain met with the media earlier on Monday during his regularly scheduled media availability. At the time of his media briefing, McElwain was unaware of the updated charges, although suggested felony charges could change the status of the suspended players by hinting at possible dismissal.

UPDATE: Offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort has also been charged with six third-degree felony charges related to the scandal. This brought the total number of players charged to nine.

Antonio Callaway among Gators reportedly set to face felony charges

Getty Images
14 Comments

If one report is accurate, things are about to get very real for a couple of members of the Florida football team.

Citing unnamed sources, thereadoptional.com reported overnight that “Antonio Callaway, Jordan Smith, and one other player are likely to be arrested on charges of felony grand theft, with the possibility of further misdemeanor charges being tagged on, according to a lawyer representing one of the players.” That trio is part of the group of nine Gator football players who have been indefinitely suspended in connection to the misuse of scholarship money in general and, specifically, for making improper charges on their student debit cards at the school bookstore and then selling those items for cash.  The Read Optional has further added that the players then claimed that the debit cards had been stolen.

In addition to Callaway, a junior wide receiver, and Smith, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman, the other suspended players include junior defensive end Keivonnis Davis, sophomore defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, freshman linebacker James Houston, freshman linebacker Ventrell Miller, junior running back Jordan Scarlett, freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort and redshirt freshman wide receiver Rick Wells.

Charges against the three players, one of whom is unnamed, are expected to be filed later on this week, next week at the latest.  It’s also expected that the other six players will be arrested as well.

Restitution for the debit card scheme has already been made, the website noted.

The off-field trouble for the football program doesn’t end there, however, as The Read Optional is also reporting that a separate investigation into players using stolen credit cards is underway.  From the website:

This morning, we reported that several players were also being investigated in a separate credit card fraud case being run in conjunction by the Gainesville Police Department and the University of Florida Police Department.

Both police departments uncovered the stolen credit card details from the same victim while operating its own individual investigations — the GPD into Jordan Smith paying his rent with stolen credit card details; and the UFPD into the student debit card scheme, an investigation that broadened over time.

The investigation into the stolen credit card information is ongoing, with other student-athletes to be interviewed on Wednesday.

All nine players remain indefinitely suspended from the football program and, based on this report, they will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Suspended Florida Nine to remain that way vs. Tennessee

Getty Images
3 Comments

Florida will again be shorthanded in the personnel department, although this time it’s for the SEC opener.

Meeting with the media ahead of Saturday’s game against Tennessee in Gainesville, Jim McElwain stated there was no update on the nine players who were suspended prior to the season opener against Michigan.  Such a response indicates that the suspended ones will remain that way at least through the Volunteers game.

Those sidelined are junior wide receiver Antonio Callaway, junior defensive end Keivonnis Davis, sophomore defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, freshman linebacker James Houston, freshman linebacker Ventrell Miller, junior running back Jordan Scarlett, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Smith, freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort and redshirt freshman wide receiver Rick Wells.  The suspensions are reportedly connected to the misuse of scholarship money in general and, specifically, for making improper charges on their student IDs at the school bookstore and then selling those items for cash.

There was one report that more players could be suspended in connection with the scheme, although that’s yet to come to fruition.

Callaway and Scarlett are easily the two most critical suspensions.  The former led the Gators in receiving each of the last two seasons, while the latter was the team’s leading rusher with 889 yards during the 2016 season.

Antonio Callaway, six other Gators suspended for Michigan opener

Getty Images
20 Comments

Antonio Callaway and six other players have been suspended for Florida’s season-opening game with Michigan, as first reported by Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated. The players were suspended for a violation of team rules, and a Florida spokesman declined to elaborate on which rule was broken. However, GatorBait has reported the suspensions stem from misuse of school scholarship funds. From the site:

Some of the players involved used the funds from part of their scholarship agreement to buy electronics equipment, then later reported the cards stolen. Some players sold the electronics equipment purchased with the school-issued funds.

Sources informed GatorBait.net that the purchases have been either returned or the school funds used will be paid back by the athletes.

The other players not making the trip to Arlington, Texas, are junior defensive end Keivonnis Davis, sophomore defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones,freshman linebacker James Houston, freshman linebacker Ventrell Miller, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Smith and freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort.

“We have a small group of players that have made some choices that are extremely disappointing,” head coach Jim McElwain said in a press release. “Action has been taken – they have missed some practice and will miss the Michigan game. We will use this as a learning opportunity and we will have some players step up as we move forward.”

The only other player beside Callaway the Gators figure to miss against Michigan is Davis, who appeared in all 14 games in 2016 with five starts. He recorded 27 tackles, three TFLs and 1.5 sacks over the year.

Callaway, however, figures to be a big loss.

The junior has been Florida’s leading receiver both years on campus, collecting 54 grabs for 721 yards and three touchdowns a year ago. He also added five rushes for 32 yards and a touchdown, returned 26 punts and took a kickoff back for a touchdown.

Callaway was cited for marijuana possession in pleaded no contest last month. The school also faces two Title IX investigations in relation to Callaway, one for an alleged sexual assault that left suspended from the team in the spring of 2016.

Michigan was ranked ninth in the initial Coaches’ Poll, released earlier this month, while Florida came in at No. 16. The Gators and Wolverines will meet at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium at 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC).

Florida WR Antonio Callaway pleads no contest to drug charge

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
2 Comments

Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway had charges for marijuana possession dropped after he decided to plead no contest to a drug paraphernalia possession misdemeanor. The no contest plea was part of an agreement Callaway made with the state attorney, which is said to be routine in incidents like the one Callaway was involved.

In May, Callaway was cited for possession of seven grams of marijuana in his pants and another 5.4 grams located in a vehicle Callaway was a passenger in. In June, the state attorney confirmed he had offered Callaway a plea deal, where Callaway could plead guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia and then have the possession charges dropped entirely. The attorney denied making the plea deal because Callaway is a football player at Florida and insisted the plea deal is common for charges involving such a small amount of marijuana.

Callaway will likely be fined and/or sentenced to some community service, but that will be determined at a later point in time. Callaway was fined $301.

What remains to be seen now is how Callaway will be handled within the Florida program. A suspension of some sort would be expected for such an offseason incident, but for how long? It is worth noting Florida opens the season with a big neutral site game against Michigan instead of staying home to play a cupcake opponent in the opener.