Usually prepared statements are carefully worded and crafted by the school’s PR department, but not this one. This one obviously came straight from Will Muschamp’s mouth — and his heart.
Muschamp has been nicknamed “Coach Boom” and now we know why. In his prepared statement, he absolutely erupted on the NCAA’s ruling.
Muschamp said he was “angered, disgusted and extremely disappointed” in the NCAA’s decision.
And that was only the beginning.
Here’s what else he said:
“In my opinion Sharrif is getting lumped into what is bad about college athletics. … 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.
“I want to make it clear that this issue is not about sports agents, Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else. The issue is about his survival and the only reason the NCAA, the SEC and the University of Florida were aware of these issues is because Sharrif brought them to our attention last February. He came forward because, as I said before, he is honest and because of his integrity.
“The toughest day that I have had as a head football coach at Florida was the day that I had to tell Sharrif that he could not play in our game vs. FAU last week. I took away part of his family.
“He had tears in his eyes and said “What have I done wrong?” I told him he did nothing wrong. It wasn’t any easier to tell him today that he would be missing Saturday’s game.
“I have two sons at home — if they end up like Sharrif I will consider myself a successful father.”
That, friends, is the most incredible prepared statement in the history of intercollegiate athletics and probably got Muschamp six verbal commitments as soon as it hit the Internet. If recruits didn’t want to play for Muschamp before, they do now.
Believe me, I’m the last guy who thinks athletes should be treated leniently by the NCAA when they knowingly break the rules. In fact, I think one of the problems with NCAA enforcement is that athletes who break the rules aren’t punished harshly enough. It always drives me crazy when a college athlete breaks the rules by taking illicit handouts from an agent or a booster and then the school immediately applies to the NCAA to have the athlete reinstated so he can play in the big game against the arch rival.
I will be honest with you when I first read that Floyd was suspended and had to repay $2,700 before he is eligible to compete again, my first thought was, “Another cheating college athlete probably getting money and prostitutes from some Nevin Shapiro wannabe.” But it’s hard not to reconsider that stance when you read an emotionally charged statement like Muschamp’s that so vociferously defends his player and so defiantly rails against the NCAA’s decision.
Let’s be honest, if Muschamp felt Floyd was a blatant cheater he wouldn’t have attacked the NCAA like he did. He would have quietly taken the two-game suspension against Florida’s first two humpty-dumpty opponents — FAU last week and UAB this week — and been thankful Floyd didn’t miss the Tennessee and Alabama games, too.
If I’m reading Muschamp’s statement right, he is saying Floyd, a kid from a dirt-poor background who grew up without parents, was suspended by the NCAA for receiving handouts from charitable people and organizations while he was in high school. I do not know if this is the case or not, but if it is then the NCAA has seemingly overstepped its bounds. How do you suspend a kid in college for accepting food, money and living expenses in high school while he was living with 10 other kids in his great grandmother’s basement apartment?
Steve Gordon, president of the Student Athlete Mentoring (SAM) Foundation in Delaware, told the Sentinel that it was one of the organization’s board members who provided Floyd with money while he was in high school.
“It’s just incredulous,” Gordon said of Floyd’s suspension. “The kid didn’t take $800 from some Ponzi schemer guy. He didn’t try to negotiate a discounted tattoo. He wasn’t selling autographs. He wasn’t doing anything.”He was just a kid who came from the mean streets of Philadelphia, had nothing and had people supporting him when he needed help.”
Wait a minute.
This cannot be right, can it?
The NCAA and its enforcement staff couldn’t be as wrongheaded as Muschamp and Gordon are making them out to be, could they?
Hard to believe it is against NCAA rules for a charitable organizaton to help provide food, clothes and transportation to a poor high school kid.
Something doesn’t add up here.
Either the NCAA has made a terrible mistake.
Or Coach Boom has gone bust.
Admittedly, I don’t know Will Muschamp very well, but I’ve covered college football a long time and I do know this:
No coach would so strongly vouch for a player and so publicly question the NCAA without being absolutely sure he is right.