The University of Florida Gators Football program is one of the most elite in the nation.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Florida has suspended seven players for its season-opener against Michigan, including Antonio Callaway. <a href="https://t.co/KAyq6UqF42">https://t.co/KAyq6UqF42</a></p>— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNCFB/status/896845538313863168">August 13, 2017</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
It's considered a top tier University sports program and is annually ranked amongst the elite in College Football.
That's why it's a devastating development for the University to take action suspending 7 players in it's season opener this year against Michigan, one of the most highly anticipated and likely challenging games of the season for the collegiate program.
Florida and Michigan are set to open each of their respective seasons on September 2nd in Arlington, Texas. The neutral location of the major contest between two big-conference teams expected to open in the top 25 would have been a major game to start an explosive season for the league's finest.
Now it's going to be significantly shocking to the Gators after Florida has suspended seven players, including star wide receiver Antonio Callaway, for violating rules intended to keep college football players from obtaining money or possessions.
The players involved in the suspension include Callaway, defensive end Keivonnis Davis, offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort, defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, defensive lineman Jordan Smith, linebacker James Houston, and linebacker Ventrell Miller were all suspended for “misuse of school-issued funds.”
According to the school, each of these students used scholarship funds to buy electronics at the school bookstore before reporting their student ID cards as stolen.
Even more shocking that some of the players actually sold the goods they purchased with their scholarship funds for cash afterwards and some cards didn’t have the right amount of money on them to begin with, officials confirmed to ESPN.
Coach Jim McElwain gave a very sternly worded statement on the matter:
<i>“We have a small group of players that have made some choices that are extremely disappointing. 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.”</i>
Callaway is considered to be a key part of Florida’s offense and Davis is also a crucial leader in part of the defense, so Florida will now have a major disadvantage against the Wolverines.
The coach says that the suspended players will have “an opportunity to reflect on the heinous crime of trying to gain a tangible benefit” in return for playing football.
What's tragic is the comes amidst the continued complaints that Collegiate Football and education just do not mix well. These are athletes, for the most part, brutes who aren't really cut out for the classroom. Some can hang, most cannot.
The controversy again will remind the public these players are not paid and risk their lives and future while struggling financially.