Gators' Sharrif Floyd suspended two games, must repay benefits, NCAA says
The NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff has determined that Florida sophomore DE Sharrif Floyd must sit out one additional game and arrange repayment of approximately $2,700 to charity before he can compete for the Gators again.
Florida athletic officials ruled Floyd ineligible just prior to last Saturday's kickoff against Florida Atlantic for violations of NCAA preferential treatment rules, including receiving $2,500 cash over several months from an individual not associated with the university.
According to the NCAA, Floyd used the money for living expenses, transportation and other expenses. In addition, he received impermissible benefits prior to enrollment, including transportation and lodging related to unofficial visits to several institutions. The NCAA says UF was not one of these schools.
“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.
Steve Gordon, founder and president of the Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation, said his organization helped Floyd pay for multiple unofficial visits in an effort to help him make a reasonable decision in choosing a school to attend.
Floyd’s father was shot and killed when he was a toddler. He left an abusive home when he was a sophomore in high school and for a time lived with a teacher at George Washington High in Philadelphia.
"Sharrif grew up in an environment where he didn’t have the things most of us take for granted – food, shelter and clothing,'' Foley said. "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. ''
In a release by the NCAA, the organization said that based on the mitigating circumstances in the case, Floyd's punishment was reduced from a potential four games to two. In its decision, the reinstatement staff cited the totality of Floyd’s circumstances, including his personal hardship that led to the impermissible benefits.
"This kid didn't get a free tattoo, he didn't sell his jersey for money or hang out with a Ponzi scheme guy,'' Gordon said. "All we did was help this kid out so he could live out his dream. Is that really harmful? We're not street agents. I'm not a graduate of the University of Florida and neither is anyone on our staff."
Floyd, who was the No. 4 prospect by Rivals.com, chose UF over Ohio State and North Carolina.