Two days after a hearing in front of the NCAA to clarify his eligibility, Florida’s Sharrif Floyd has heard The Association’s ruling on his case. Suffice to say, it’s not music to the defensive lineman’s ears, especially financially.
In a statement, the NCAA announced that Floyd will be forced to sit for two games — he’s already sat one — and repay $2,700 to a charity in order to regain his eligibility. UF had previously declared Floyd ineligible for violations of NCAA preferential treatment rules.
The NCAA found that Floyd had received “$2,500 cash over several months from an individual not associated with the university. Floyd used the money for living expenses, transportation and other expenses.” The release went on to state that “he received impermissible benefits prior to enrollment, including transportation and lodging related to unofficial visits to several institutions.”
UF was not one of those schools, the NCAA ruled.
“We examine each situation carefully and consider all elements related to a student-athlete’s individual circumstances and the violation,” an NCAA statement read. “This gives us the flexibility to tailor the conditions of reinstatement that take into account all details and are in the best interest of the involved student-athlete.”
Perhaps in an effort to highlight their boundless benevolence, the NCAA noted in its release that Floyd could actually have received a four-game suspension; but, “[b]ased on the mitigating circumstances in the case” — with those being Floyd’s “personal hardship that led to the impermissible benefits being provided to the student-athlete by someone other than a legal guardian or family member” — the “withholding condition” was cut in half to two.
Of course, this also begs the question: how the hell is Floyd supposed to repay $2,700 if personal hardship less than two years ago led him to accept $2,700 in impermissible benefits in the first place?
Regardless, Floyd, who missed the opener against FAU after being declared eligible on game day, will also missed this weekend’s game against UAB. He had been a starter heading into the 2011 season.
UPDATED 5:46 p.m. ET: Florida released a statement attributed to Jeremy Foley addressing the NCAA’s decision, and UF’s athletic director doesn’t appear too pleased with the ruling.
“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.
Sharrif Floyd is an outstanding young man and we are very proud that he represents our program. We are all disappointed that he had to deal with this situation, but he will move forward and be stronger for this.”