Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls football team dismisses RB Mike Ford

TAMPA — The promising but turbulent USF career of running back Mike Ford came to an abrupt end Wednesday.

The senior has been dismissed from the football team for an unspecified violation of team rules, football coach Skip Holtz announced.

"I am disappointed for Mike more than anything else," Holtz said in a statement. "I hope that he learns some important life lessons from this experience at USF. A lot of people care deeply for him. He needs to realize that he can respond to this adversity in a positive way and still fulfill many of his goals as a person, student and football player."

Ford's three years at USF were marked by bursts of promise mitigated by off-field problems. He rushed for 207 yards and a touchdown in his last game on Jan. 2, USF's win against Northern Illinois at the International Bowl in Toronto, and fans had lobbied for him to become an every-down back in 2010.

"To all of my family, friends and fans, I made a mistake that I really, really regret and I apologize for that," Ford said in a statement. "I am responsible for my own actions. Please forgive me for I am only human. This will not be the last of Mike Ford. I will continue my dream, and I will graduate. Thank you to coach Jim Leavitt, coach Skip Holtz and coach Carl Franks. Once again, I apologize and will continue to push forward."

Ford had been suspended for one game in 2007 for missing classes and the first two of 2009 for a violation of team rules. He has also been arrested twice on driving-related infractions, most recently in December.

Ford would have competed for a starting role in 2010, but the Bulls are deep at running back. Starter Mo Plancher is applying for a sixth year of eligibility, and USF should have nine other scholarship running backs.

Ford could enter the NFL's supplemental draft, but if he wants to play in the fall, his only options would be Division II or NAIA.

POTENTIAL TRANSFER: The Bulls will get an unofficial visit Friday from Donald Bowens, a St. Petersburg High graduate and former N.C. State receiver who graduates from NCSU in the spring and is interested in playing his final season at USF.

"I'd love to be at home for my final college season," said Bowens, who missed the 2008 season and the start of 2009 with knee and lower-back injuries.

Bowens, 6 feet 3, 195 pounds, said USF is the only Division I-A school he's considering. In 2007, he led N.C. State with 41 catches for 598 yards and three touchdowns, including an 11-catch, 202-yard, two-TD game against Virginia. Last season, he had 12 catches for 175 yards and one score.

Florida state: Sophomore receiver/defensive back Avis Commack, who had been working out with the track team, broke his right femur Tuesday and had surgery, the school said. He's expected to be out 12 weeks.

Times staff writer Brian Landman contributed to this report.

USF Bulls football team dismisses RB Mike Ford 02/24/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010 8:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays' Blake Snell erasing memories of his poor start

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — As Blake Snell strides up the mound at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night with an 10-game unbeaten streak, doesn't the miserable start to his sophomore season, when he was winless in eight starts and got demoted to Triple-A, seem like a long time ago?

    To him, too.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) in the dugout during the fourth inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  2. Buccaneers-Vikings Turning Point, Week 3: Overreaction vs. reality


    "None of us really know how this group of 53 guys is going to come together and how we're going to play this season."

    Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs torched a porous Bucs secondary Sunday with eight catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. [Getty Images]
  3. Jake Dotchin on rule violation: 'It's hurting me'


    While defenseman Jake Dotchin continues to practice with the Lightning, it's uncertain when - or if - he'll get any preseason action.

    Jake Dotchin violated an unspecified team rule, which is why he hasn't played in the first four games.
  4. PolitiFact: Trump's Mostly False claim that NFL ratings are 'way down'


    The statement

    "NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country."

    Quarterback Jameis Winston is sacked during the first half of the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  5. Bucs couldn't connect on or stop deep passes in loss to Vikings


    If two things were established as storylines entering Sunday's Bucs-Vikings game, it was that Tampa Bay was still struggling to establish the deep passes that were missing from its offense last year, and that …

    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) gets into the end zone for a long touchdown reception as Bucs free safety Chris Conte (23) cannot stop him during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]