- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Florida sophomore defensive end Sharrif Floyd will have to sit one more game repay about $2,700 to charity before he is eligible to compete, the NCAA ruled Thursday.
Floyd was ruled ineligible for Florida's opener for what the school said was "not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida."
The NCAA said Floyd received $2,500 over several months from someone not associated with Florida, which was used for living expenses, transportation and other expenses. He received impermissible benefits, including transportation and lodging related to unofficial visits to several institutions. Florida wasn't one of them.
Because of Floyd's especially rough upbringing, the NCAA reduced the potential four-game penalty to two games. Floyd's biological father died when he was 3 and Floyd grew up with a so-called father figure that he said "didn't treat me right growing up."
Floyd sometimes wore the same clothes day after day in elementary school. He didn't even have enough money to go to San Antonio, Texas, for the U.S. Army scouting combine in January of 2009 or unofficial visits to schools. In order to get out there, his high school raised money for him through a bake sale. That bake sale was something Floyd's high school coach said this week came into question by the NCAA.
Floyd grew up extremely poor, so the NCAA ruled that the impermissible benefits he received were a result of his personal hardships.
Here's what Kevin Lennon, the NCAA's vice president of academic and membership affairs, said about Floyd's situation:
"We examine each situation carefully and consider all elements related to a student-athlete's individual circumstances and the violation. This gives us the flexibility to tailor the conditions of reinstatement that take into account all details and are in the best interest of the involved student-athlete."
Florida could appeal Floyd's two-game ban, but there's really no need at this point. The Gators likely won't need him against UAB this weekend. Florida is fortunate Floyd won't receive the four-game ban because he'll now be available for Florida's first two conference games against Tennessee and Kentucky. Obviously, he'll have to pay back the money he received to charity first.
Floyd apparently cooperated with both Florida and the NCAA and even approached Florida about the incident first before the school notified the NCAA about it in February. Florida felt the issue would be resolved before the season, but that wasn't the case and Floyd had to sit because of it.
In a statement from Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, he didn't seem too pleased with the NCAA's decision to hold Floyd out, but he has to be happy that Floyd will return sooner rather than later.
"Sharrif grew up in an environment where he didn’t have the things most of us take for granted -- food, shelter and clothing," Foley said. "In the absence of parents, there were kind people, in no way affiliated with the University of Florida, who were not boosters or sports agents, that helped him along the way to provide those things that he would otherwise not have had. This is not an issue about his recruitment to the University of Florida or any other University.
"Sharrif Floyd is an outstanding young man and we are very proud that he represents our program. We are all disappointed that he had to deal with this situation, but he will move forward and be stronger for this.”
23hDavid Ching and Edward Aschoff