Florida Gators suspend seven players, including Antonio Callaway, for Michigan opener

By Adam Silverstein
August 13, 2017
Florida Gators suspend seven players, including Antonio Callaway, for Michigan opener
Football

Image Credit: ESPNI

Seven Florida Gators football players will be suspended for the team’s 2017 season opener against the Michigan Wolverines, the program announced on Sunday.

Junior star wide receiver Antonio Callaway is the biggest name of the group, which also includes junior defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, redshirt sophomore DL Richerd Desir-Jones, redshirt freshman DL Jordan Smith, freshman linebacker James Houston IV, freshman LB Ventrell Miller and freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort.

“We have a small group of players that have made some choices that are extremely disappointing,” head coach Jim McElwain said in a release. “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.”

Florida did not share a reason for the suspensions, though two sources close to the program told OnlyGators.com the punishments may stem from an incident in which players allegedly misused student debit cards with scholarship funds provided to them by the school. The players allegedly purchased various electronics, sold theme externally and then tried to claim the cards had been lost or stolen. No charges were filed against the players. The Associated Press has since confirmed this was the reason for the suspensions.

247Sports’ Thomas Goldkamp reports that the situation will be resolved by players either returning the items or refunding the school for the funds that were incorrectly used. The Read Optional’s Trey Wallace first reported the situation.

In his first press conference ahead of fall practice, which was likely held before he was made aware of this situation, McElwain said he did not anticipate any Gators missing the opener against the Wolverines.

“Everybody is doing a great job. I don’t anticipate it. But there’s still some requirements on everybody to see where we’ll be at going into the Michigan game, and obviously that’ll be answered when we go into game week,” he said. “As of right now, all hands on deck.”

This is Callaway’s second offseason incident as he was cited for marijuana possession back in May. It did not appear as if McElwain was planning on suspending him for the Michigan game prior to this incident. While being a down a playmaker against UM is not ideal, UF has a deep enough receiving corps to replace Callaway in the game.

Davis was also expected to see significant action in the opener as a rotational player at defensive end. Outside of Callaway and Davis, the other five losses affect special teams and overall depth more than anything.

McElwain is expected to address these suspensions — and avoid discussing the incident that led to them — at his next press conference on Monday. It is not presently known whether these are one-week or indefinite suspensions.

6 Comments

  1. kingsfan says:

    They wouldn’t even miss a snap if they played for Saban.

    Kudos to the Florida Gators for holding players accountable.

    • JKI says:

      Wouldn’t miss a snap for Fisher either. His guys were beating women and raped one of them,…….nothing !!

      • B says:

        Hard to say that when your QY Harris had actual charges filed against him for rape/sexual assault. He missed last season, but hey…no jail time.

        Saban let a player with several pounds of weed in his dorm room play the whole season! Guess Saban passed the doobies around the locker room after games!

  2. WTH says:

    Callaway = Once a thug always a thug !. time for him to go !

  3. LPT says:

    Misappropriation of scholarship funds and subsequently reporting the card stolen is fraud. How does the University or NCAA not step in on this and force them to remove the players completely?

  4. Sydney Croud says:

    This is the kind of thing FSU always does and we rightly laugh and criticize them for. Coach Mac needs to come down hard, a one game suspension is nothing. This should not be taken lightly. A reputation takes years to build and we don’t want to be compared with Georgia and FSU. Integrity is still important. It’s not enough just to win.

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