Florida Gators QB Treon Harris reinstated after accuser withdraws sexual battery complaint

The female student who accused Florida Gators freshman quarterback Treon Harris of sexual battery on Monday has withdrawn her complaint four days later, and the player has subsequently had his school suspension lifted.

“The University of Florida has informed the University Athletic Association that the sexual battery complaint has been withdrawn, and the university is not proceeding with any action,” UF spokesperson Janine Sikes said in a statement released to OnlyGators.com late Friday afternoon.

The University of Florida provided the following statement to OnlyGators.com earlier in the afternoon, announcing the Harris’s accuser had rescinded her sexual battery claim:

The student who accused Treon Harris of sexual battery has withdrawn her criminal complaint. This means she is not pursuing criminal charges against him at this time but maintains the right to do so in the future.

The police report will be released when it is available.

The UAA will have more information on his football status later in the day.

The university always will take swift and decisive action when we have concerns about the safety of our students.

The University Athletic Association has yet to announce a decision on Harris’s playing status with the Gators, but a decision will likely come before the day is out.

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The Silver Lining for Thursday, October 9, 2014: Wider lens on the Treon Harris incident, Cleatgate

Due to a shift in schedule for the Florida Gators, this week’s The Silver Lining was pushed to Thursday. It will next be published on Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Taking a wider lens to the Treon Harris incident

This was originally written at 2:03 a.m. because no matter how I attempted to begin discussing this issue, I found my final product to be unsatisfactory. In fact, this is my fourth fifth (following the Huntley Johnson press release) draft of the same segment of this column, which I hope communicates how serious and important I consider this subject.

The details – and more importantly, the facts – of the sexual battery investigation involving Florida freshman quarterback Treon Harris remain a mystery at this time, and there is unlikely to be anything truly substantial that comes out until the University of Florida Police Department decides whether to charge Harris with a crime.

Harris’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, is just doing his job by publicly stating that he expects Harris to be cleared of the accusation and hopes the situation resolves itself in a timely fashion. The press release Johnson issued on Thursday is standard operating procedure for cases such as this with Johnson getting out in front of everything by presenting a mountain of circumstantial evidence in an effort to paint Harris as innocent, whether he committed the crime or not. Granted, there is more information than usual in Johnson’s release, but the concept of the release itself is quite common.

Even if everything Johnson wrote on Thursday is determined to be completely accurate, sexual battery may still have been committed that morning. “No” means “no” and “stop” means “stop” at any time, whether it is said before or during a sexual encounter.

Similarly, the UFPD continues to do its job, in conjunction with the Gainesville Police Department, by conducting a thorough investigation including the significant collection (and eventual analysis) of forensic evidence. The University of Florida and University Athletic Association also did their job by acting swiftly and justly, suspending Harris indefinitely pending the results of this initial investigation.

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Attorney: Florida QB Treon Harris not guilty of a crime, woman was “sexual aggressor”

Updated at 4:45 p.m.

Attorney Huntley Johnson, who is representing Florida Gators freshman quarterback Treon Harris while the player is being investigated for sexual battery, released a statement to the media Thursday in which he claims his client is “not guilty of a crime” and “did not mistreat this young lady in any way” on Sunday morning.

OnlyGators.com obtained the release at noon.

Johnson further claims that the alleged victim was the “sexual aggressor” in not one but two separate sexual interactions Sunday morning, noting that text messages provided to police will prove that to be the case and a second “individual has given testimony to law enforcement that he had sexual relations with the alleged victim less than an hour before the alleged sexual conduct with our client took place.”

According to Johnson, the young woman, via text message, “initiated the conduct with Mr. Harris while he was still in the locker room in Knoxville” and continued conversation with him and the “other gentleman” once the team’s plane landed back in Gainesville, Florida.

Harris is currently serving an indefinite suspension from the Gators athletic program and an interim suspension from the University of Florida.

Among the claims made by Johnson in the three-page issued statement:

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Florida QB Treon Harris on school suspension, attorney says; incident report redacted

The University of Florida on Wednesday released a heavily redacted initial incident report on the sexual battery investigation involving freshman quarterback Treon Harris, who is also serving an “interim suspension” from the school, according to ESPN.com.

How redacted?

The only information not hidden was the offense description (“sexual battery”); names of the reporting officer (Jessica Zarate), investigator (Justin Faroni) and case screening supervisor (Henry Spurlin); location of the incident (Springs Residential Complex); and the range of time between when the incident was reported, an officer arrived on the scene (seven minutes) and the initial statements were completed (four hours, 11 minutes).

The University Police Department, with an assist from the Gainesville Police Department, plans to interview Harris and complete a full analysis of forensic evidence before releasing the complete report, which will likely only have the victim’s name and other sensitive details redacted.

Harris is not only facing potential legal charges, he is simultaneously serving an “interim suspension” from the school and an indefinite suspension from the football program.

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Florida Gators considering indoor practice facility

The Florida Gators may build an indoor practice facility for the football team after all.

Despite athletic director Jeremy Foley stating repeatedly that an indoor practice facility was not a priority for the program, the Gators have submitted to the Florida Department of State a notice of bid/request for proposal requiring “design/build services” for “Project UAA-35, Indoor Football Practice Facility (Main Campus).”

University of Florida’s Athletics Association (UAA) is considering the possibilities of providing an indoor practice field for the football program on its current practice site located immediately north of McKethan (baseball) Stadium on the University of Florida campus. Also, a new storage building will be built at the NE corner of the football practice field to provide space for a satellite athletic training space, hydration station, toilet, and field maintenance equipment storage.

The total project budget is $11,900,000.00 including site improvements, underground utilities, fees, surveys & tests, total building comissioning, furnishings & equipment, and contingencies.

According to Florida spokesman Steve McClain, who sent a statement to The Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu, there are no plans currently on the horizon for the facility.

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FOUR BITS: Walker, Pouncey, SEC Network, Noah

1 » Five days after junior guard/forward DeVon Walker tore his ACL and four days after the news officially broke, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan has addressed losing a key role player for the entire 2014-15 season. “DeVon had two years under his belt. He was really finding out who he was as a player and looking good at workouts,’ Donovan said in a story on the school’s website. “I feel terrible for him because he had worked so hard to get himself to this point.” Florida also announced that Walker, who tore the ligament during an individual workout, is scheduled to go under the knife at some point later this summer.

2 » According to The Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, the torn labrum suffered by Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey is likely to keep him out up to eight weeks of the regular season, three more than initially predicted. Though Pouncey was only projected to miss the Dolphins’ first four games (the team has a bye week in week five), he is now a candidate to be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the season. Players on that list cannot return to their team until after the sixth game of the season. Pouncey will be included on the PUP list during training camp and into the preseason, but Miami will have the opportunity to decide whether to keep him on it before the first week of the regular season.

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Florida Gators women win 2014 Capital One Cup

The Florida Gators women’s athletic program was officially announced Thursday as the winner of the 2014 Capital One Cup.

It is the first time in program history that the women have obtained the award, though Florida’s men’s program captured the first two honors in 2011 and 2012.

In the four-year history of the award, the Gators are the only athletic program to win both the men’s and women’s cups.

Awarded annually to each of the top men’s and women’s Division I college athletic programs in the country, the winner of the Capital One Cup is determined by a scoring system in which points are awarded sport-by-sport depending how respective teams finish in NCAA Championships and the final official coaches’ polls.

Florida (152 points) dominated its competition, winning the cup by an 42-point margin over UCLA (110) and finishing 63 points above the next team from the Southeastern Conference, Texas A&M (89).

The Gators led the way with championships and first-place finishes in gymnastics and softball. Florida also finished in the top 10 nationally in six other sports: indoor track & field (third), outdoor track & field (fourth), lacrosse (fourth), tennis (fifth), swimming (sixth) and soccer (10th).

UF’s men’s athletic program is currently ranked third overall but first among SEC teams with 86 points. Florida is 12.5 points behind the leader, Notre Dame (98.5), but 45 points ahead of the next SEC school, Auburn (41). The men’s standings will become final after the conclusion of the 2014 Colege World Series.

The women’s victory earns the University of Florida a total of $200,000 to go toward student-athlete graduate-level scholarships. The Gators will be presented with the Capital One Cup at the 2014 ESPY Awards on July 16 at 9 p.m.

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Former Gators FB Larry Dupree, 71, passes away

Former Florida Gators fullback Larry Dupree, one of the best players in program history and a member of the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame, passed away from a heart attack on Sunday at the age of 71.

The sixth player in Florida football history to be named an All-American, Dupree earned the honor as the lone team captain in 1964, the same year he became the third rusher in Southeastern Conference history to receive three career first-team All-SEC nods.

He was also revered by his teammates that same season as the recipient of the Fergie Ferguson Award, given by the Gators annually to honor a senior “who displays outstanding leadership, character and courage.”

According to The Gainesville Sun, Dupree never missed a game in his collegiate career.

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