Florida Gators sophomore defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd remains ineligible to play as fans continue to wonder exactly why. His high school coach, asked about a bake sale Floyd held to raise money to fund football trips, assumed the NCAA‘s issue related to that. However, it appears as if Floyd eligibility may be tied to another party.
According to South Carolina newspaper The State (subscription required), Floyd and South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Damiere Byrd are being held out of action because of their association with Student Athlete Mentoring, a Delaware-based non-profit organization that “provide[s] supplementary support to high school student-athletes in both their academic and athletic endeavors.”
The State reports that S.A.M. president Steve Gordon had been contacted by the NCAA about assistance he provided Floyd and Byrd, and a spokesperson for South Carolina confirmed that “Byrd’s eligibility issue and the SAM Foundation are ‘connected.’”
“They haven’t told me that I did anything wrong. All I know is they are punishing Damiere and Sharrif for something they didn’t do,” Gordon told the paper.
Reaching out to Gordon on Thursday was the Palm Beach Post, which quoted him as saying he believed his organization was the reason for Floyd being ineligible.
“Yes, we helped Sharrif, so I guess that’s what it’s about,” he said. “It’s with regard to my foundation’s support of Sharrif when he was in high school. That’s what I’ve been led to believe.”
Gordon also told the Post that the NCAA has been investigating S.A.M. since last October and questioning him about Floyd as early as seven months ago.
“The way the NCAA runs their organization with the clandestine secrecy and their actions of impunity really just confounds me and gets my goat when all I am trying to do is help inner city kids who don’t have two nickels to rub together to experience as much as they can so they can make informed decisions,” Gordon said, according to The State.
Neither the University of Florida nor the NCAA have stated when a decision would be made on the eligibility of Floyd and Byrd. After releasing their initial statement on the subject, UF has refused subsequent comment.