Cody Larson quits Gators

Updated: October 26, 2012, 2:22 PM ET
By Michael DiRocco | GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida redshirt sophomore forward Cody Larson, who had his scholarship pulled over the summer by coach Billy Donovan, has quit the team.

"After a lot of careful thought, I have decided that I need to place my focus on my personal life and my academics," Larson said in a statement. "I really appreciate Coach Donovan and the whole staff here at Florida for the support they have given me, and that made this decision even harder."

Donovan said at the team's media day earlier this month that he told Larson after last season that he would not renew his scholarship if he did not fulfill certain responsibilities. Donovan said he spoke with Larson's family and told them Larson, who has had legal troubles, would be welcome to return to the team as a walk-on.

A school spokesman said Larson will remain at Florida through the fall semester.

Larson said earlier this month that the decision to return "wasn't hard at all. I know I wanted to stay under Coach Donovan. Not even talking basketball, just being under Coach Donovan is the best thing for me in my life."

The 6-foot-9, 239-pound Larson averaged 0.5 points and 0.8 rebounds in 25 games last season. He was not expected to play a significant role this season.

"I know this was a difficult decision for Cody," Donovan said. "He has made great strides in his personal growth, and I'm very proud of him for that. All of us here wish him the best as he moves on from our team."

It is the latest twist in Larson's career at Florida. He accepted a deferred prosecution agreement in September 2011 after being charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing stemming from an April 10, 2011, arrest in St. Augustine for breaking into a vehicle outside a restaurant. Performing 200 hours of community service, completing a substance abuse evaluation and any recommended treatment, and paying $440 in restitution and court costs were among the conditions of the agreement.

This agreement violated a condition of a plea agreement Larson agreed to in May 2010 in his hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D. Larson was sentenced to 120 days of suspended jail time and given two years' probation for inhabiting a room where drugs were knowingly kept and used because he gave an injured high school teammate a leftover prescription pain reliever. Larson also was ordered to avoid further legal trouble.

Larson could have faced jail time in South Dakota because of the Florida arrest; instead, a judge reinstated his 120-day suspended sentence and added an additional two years' probation.

Donovan said Larson's legal issues were not a factor in his decision to pull Larson's scholarship.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter