On Monday the University of Florida announced that starting quarterback Will Grier would miss a full year — starting on October 12 — due to violating the NCAA’s policy enhancing drugs. Grier was tested under the NCAA’s random testing process in the year-round drug-testing program.
Both Will Grier and Jim McElwain maintain that Grier took an over the counter supplement that contained something in it that was banned by the NCAA. Florida, as every college around the country with a sports program does, routinely educated their players as to what they can and cannot take and that if there is any question in their mind they need to check with the medical staff.
“I took an over-the-counter supplement that had something in it, and I did not check with the medical staff before taking it,” an emotional Grier said as he addressed reporters. “I really hope that people can learn from this, learn from my mistake. I’m really, really sorry to everyone. Just really sorry.”
McElwain found out about the positive test on Sunday and that he and Grier addressed the team together on Monday at their normally scheduled team meeting.
“He had a chance to address the team and spoke from the heart,” McElwain said of Grier. “One of the things that he expressed is we talked about this, we learned about it yesterday or I learned about it yesterday, is the opportunity you have to maybe affect somebody elses’ life and to understand that we can learn from this.”
The school plans to appeal this ruling and a Florida spokesperson says that appeal process will begin tomorrow. NCAA rules stipulate that the NCAA has 48 hours or before the team’s next contest to hear the appeal and come down with a ruling.
The NCAA rule states that failure of a test for performance enhancing drugs comes with a yearlong suspension for the first positive test and forfeiture of eligibility for a second positive test for performance enhancing drugs. This is Grier’s first time failing a drug test and would mean that he would be out a full calendar year, essentially forfeiting his redshirt status. Due to the suspension Grier would be able to return during the 2016 season in October.
“We will, as a university, appeal this,” said McElwain. “And we support Will, his family, obviously in every way possible.”
The student-athlete and university can appeal the result and if ruled in their favor the sanction could either be reduced or eliminated.
This is a blow to the Florida Gators football team as Grier had made five starts this season, leading the Gators to their 6-0 record and 4-0 record in conference play. Sophomore Treon Harris — who started the final six games last season and the first game of this season — will assume the starting role.
“Obviously we were putting things in for him as we kind of go. He’s been doing a great job in practice,” McElwain said of Harris. “As you know going into this, I felt that we’ve had two really good quarterbacks. Now it’s Treon’s opportunity to take the reins and run with it. He’ll do a great job.”