Gators QB Will Grier apologizes for banned substance suspension, Florida will appeal NCAA

By Adam Silverstein
October 12, 2015

A choked up Will Grier took the microphone Monday to apologize for hurting teammates and fans of the No. 8 Florida Gators after it was discovered Sunday that he tested positive for a banned substance and would be suspended for up to a full year by the NCAA.

“I took an over-the-counter supplement that had something in it, and I did not check with the medical staff before taking it,” explained Grier, fighting back tears. “I really hope that people can learn from this, learn from my mistake. I’m really sorry to everyone, just really sorry.”

Head coach Jim McElwain opened Monday’s press conference with a similar sentiment.

“Will Grier won’t play this week and obviously in the near future due to taking a supplement, an over-the-counter supplement that had something in it that was on the NCAA list of things that you can’t have,” he began. “It’s something that he feels horrible about. It’s an honest mistake, and yet, can be prevented by just checking with our medical staff. I want everybody to understand that this is a mistake we’ll learn from.”

He continued: “Obviously, this is hard. I don’t want anybody to forget, we’re in this for these young men. We feel for him; we feel his pain. He had a chance to address the team and spoke from the heart. One of the things he expressed … is the opportunity you have to maybe affect somebody else’s life and understand that we can learn from this.”

“As a university, we will appeal this, and we support Will, his family obviously in every way possible. And yet, we also know there’s certain steps that go along the way.”

What the Gators will appeal is not the suspension itself but rather its length. NCAA bylaws mandate that any player who violates the league’s banned substance policy be suspended for one full calendar year (365 days). Florida is expected to request from the NCAA that, because Grier made a mistake and took a supplement accidentally, it reduce his suspension to the remainder of the 2015 season. It will also request Grier’s ‘B sample’ be tested to confirm the NCAA’s results.

Should the appeal be denied, Grier will be forced to sit for the first six games of the 2016 campaign, when he will be a redshirt sophomore. 

Grier will continue practicing with the Gators in the meantime but will not be eligible to travel with the team for away games.

“Before you even take cough medicine, you’ve got to check with the medical staff,” McElwain added. “Check with the medical staff before you put anything in your body. … You got to know what you put in your body.”


  1. KB says:

    Feel bad for the kid if indeed he took a supplement not knowing it contained a banned substance. They say it once if not a hundred times to be careful about any over the counter supplement. UF probably should not have allowed him to speak at the conference without a prepared statement. Really sucks for him after redshirting and for his teammates because they were off to such a great start. Definitely not the distraction you need going into a big game minus your starting QB. I said at the beginning of the season UF has two QBs capable of executing the offense so it will be next man up. Still really really really sucks though.

  2. I’m suspicious of Will since the team has been told repeatedly not to take anything without staff approval. Stupid.

  3. Michael Jones says:

    Coach Mac has got to be one of the classiest acts out there, man. I am so proud of the way he looks after our student athletes and for the way he represents our university. Heck, I don’t just feel better about our program after every time I hear him talk, I even feel better about myself. Ha ha.

    But, seriously, he is a first class one-in-a-million dude and we’re very lucky to have him. As hard as I’ve been on Foley, have to give him credit for knocking it out of the park on McElwain.

    This too shall pass. We’re in good hands. We’re already a heck of a lot better team than I expected us to be at this point. Although I have to laugh at the reporter at the conference who talked about the defense “not missing a beat” from last year. News flash: we’re better this year on defense too. Just better all around and without the crappy penalties and lack of sportsmanship and quitting when the going gets tough. That’s all McElwain.

    Now Treon gets his shot. Thank you, Treon, for having a good attitude and staying with the program and staying engaged.

    Go Gators!!!!!

    • Ken (CA) says:

      We’re already a heck of a lot better team than I expected us to be at this point.

      Which is primarily what the recruits are looking for as well, the wins are just a bonus. Really would be nice, even without the Greer incident if we could sway a top QB to come in next year, but aside from that, expect him to knock it out of the park on or before NSD again this year. we are going to end with a top 5 class, mark my words. I think there are going to be some of the very best come our way and some more switches to us from top players before all is said and done.

      I don’t know who specifically, I just know that before the season the recruits being targeted were far more interested in are we improving than what is our record, and yet we have done both at a very high level.

  4. GatorGrad98 says:

    Intentional or an accident, only Will knows. With that being said, he is still a kid & is going to make mistakes as we all have done… Regardless, I have to believe Will has learned his lesson, suspended for a year plus when the team was doing great with massive media attention & he playing at a whole other level himself… So sad & such a waste of talent. I hope he can bounce back from all of this. GO GATORS!!! I’m excited to see Treon, let’s hope he can stay out of trouble!!!

  5. BIGGATOR says:

    I know this sounds a little,maybe overly,optimistic but this situation with Grier could be a blessing in disguise, remember,up until the tennessee game,coach Mac had not decided on a starting QB. which tells me that Grier and Treon were neck-n-neck in the QB competition. Treon does bring some better skills than Grier,namely speed and better arm strength. he is able to make defenses pay by letting him run,and his arm strength is pretty dang good,he can easily air it out 50-60 yards! so,if he can get time to pass and the receivers get open,he’s going to complete some passes. i believe the team will rally around him and the Gators will really play with an attitude! GO GATORS!

    • Aligator says:

      While you make good points,Treon can not read defenses past his first check down. We will look just like LSU or SC with their offenses. Yes we will do okay, but the reality is we go 3-3 over the rest of the year and end up 9-3. How bad is that?

      • Big Ron says:

        It was the UK game that Grier became full time. Also, treon may be faster but Grier is a much better runer and much smarter when reading defenses. Grier has a gunslingers arm with a game managers sight. Treon is gonna play well, but Grier was a prototype qb and the heart of the offense, gonna be rough without him

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I hope you are right, and I know he connected once in a while, but throwing it 50-60 yards downfield when receiver is 30-40 doesn’t help, or when receive is but is 15 yards to the right. I just don’t trust his accuracy. He doesn’t red as efficiently as Grier and the line just isn’t experienced enough to give him time, so it will either be first read or he will scramble. I anticipate a lot of screens, flat passes, toss sweeps to hit the edge and Cronkrite and Taylor banking it up the middle for 2-3 yds at a time. probably a very low scoring game with 2 one dimensional offenses now and 2 strong defenses. Turnovers will be a big key, we have a great punter to flip the field, but our field goal kicking could be the difference between a win or a tough loss.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Treon does not have better arm strength. Not even close. Maybe you’re just trying to make lemonade and put a positive spin on this but, seriously . . .

  6. Zadok says:

    Guys we should be happy that we have a capable back QB in Treon Harris, who finished at 4-2 last year as a true freshman starter in an anemic offense. Most teams don’t have the luxury that we have in Harris. Coach Nuss and McElwain will put together a good game plan for Harris. I honesty think we will be fine and just as effective offensively. Treon can make a lot of plays with his legs and he has a pretty good arm. He’s an explosive playmaker! He’s not as polished as Grier working from the pocket but he is capable of making plays in there. Hopefully we can continue to use the tight ends well and work on our execution on 3rd down in passing situations. That is going to be the key. Us executing on 3rd down in passing situations. Can Harris make those necessary throws on 3rd and long situations ? We’ll see. I think he can.

    • G2 says:

      He came off the bench and directed a win at UT, beat UGA in Jax, and came within a deflected pass of beating fsu on the road….the kid can play!

  7. Mike The Red says:

    Coach Mac handled that situation about as well as it can be handled. Another dumb mistake made by one of our kids. Hopefully, it will be a learning experience.

    The change of pace may be a good thing. Remember… Treon sat out the LSU game last year after (apparently) false allegation were brought against him. If he had played that game, alot of things may have been different. I bet that he is real hungry for this opportunity.

    On a brighter note, did anyone expect us to be 6-0? I am just happy that the Gators are relevant again. Remember when the UF-LSU game used to shape the SEC championship?

    Go Gators!!!

  8. Ken (CA) says:

    Wow,Crazy news in CFB today…on top of Grier, Sarkisian fired and Spurrier announced he is retiring as of today.

    Thanks for all the memories Coach SOS

  9. BUCK says:

    First off I am Not A UF fan. That being said I will say this, Will Grier is a remarkable young athlete. And here’s the thing young minds can be poisoned. Is it acceptable that coaches and referees are exempt from NCAA sanctions? I don’t think so. Steve Sakian USC’s head coach knowingly drank alcohol before a football game is he suspended ? No he just needs help and little time off. And what about the referee that drinks nyquil prior to kickoff? And while we are setting examples what about that athletic director that insists his use of opiates is legal because he has a prescription. The trainer the man that was instructed to get the star athlete back in the game I can do it if you let me. Peer pressure accounted for many of these actions in days gone by. Today’s actions are pure greed.