Florida and Michigan will open their seasons on September 2 in Arlington, Texas. The neutral-site contest between two big-conference teams expected to open in the top 25 should be a fun one. However, it’ll be significantly less fun now that 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.
As Florida’s 247 Sports blog Gator Bait first reported, 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.” Specifically, they used scholarship funds to buy electronics at the school bookstore before reporting their student ID cards as stolen. Some players sold the wares 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:
“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.”
Callaway is the most dynamic part of Florida’s offense and Davis is also a key part of the defense, so Florida will be at a marked disadvantage against the Wolverines. At least the suspended players will have an opportunity to reflect on the heinous crime of trying to gain a tangible benefit for playing football.