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Why did Jalon Jones play in Florida Gators’ spring game?

Here’s what we know and don’t know about the sexual battery complaints.

There’s a lot we still don’t know about the sexual battery complaints against Florida Gators quarterback Jalon Jones. Because I’m a sports writer, let’s start with the biggest sports question.

Why did he play in the spring game a week after being accused of these crimes?

Here’s what we know:

The first incident happened around 2 a.m. on April 6, according to the University of Florida Police Department report. The second happened about a half hour later.

At 6:30 a.m., UF police responded to Shands Hospital and spoke to the complainants with a victim’s advocate present. Both women declined to pursue charges, and both cases were exceptionally cleared by April 9, according to the police reports.

Something else happened on April 9. At least one of the cases was referred to UF’s office of student conduct and conflict resolution. That happened at 10:24 a.m., according to the documents.

Four days (plus a few hours later), Jones was participating in the spring game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

So what happened in those four days? I don’t know yet. Student conduct cases are notoriously confidential. UF has stressed that it “followed its athletic department and campus protocols,” as Gators spokesman Steve McClain said Thursday.

Here’s how those protocols work:

The office of student conduct and conflict resolution receives a report. That office reviews it and can open an investigation. If it’s a case involving possible sexual misconduct (like this one), the Office of Title IX Compliance conducts the investigation.

If the investigators find “sufficient information” to conclude a violation of the conduct code took place, the student receives a letter explaining the charge. Then the case proceeds, eventually to a hearing.

That’s a lot of steps.

I don’t know which step the process is on now, and I don’t know which step it was on at 1 p.m. April 13 when the spring game was beginning. I also don’t know what Gators coaches knew about the allegation on April 6, or April 9, or April 13, or April 30 when his impending transfer became public.

You can argue that playing in the spring game doesn’t mean much. It’s a glorified scrimmage, not a real game against Miami or Georgia or Florida State. But Jones was still representing the Gators a week after being accused of sexual battery by two women.

We’ll see if more information comes out in the coming days to explain why.

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