The Florida Gators were rolling along undefeated in Jim McElwain’s inaugural season as head coach. The Gators had a thrilling come from behind win over Tennessee, an upset win over then No. 3 Ole Miss and dismantled Missouri before their season took a nose dive.
Everything was right in Gator Nation until it wasn’t.
On October 12, Florida announced that starting quarterback Will Grier had been suspended for violating the NCAA’s rule regarding performance-enhancing drugs. Without Grier, the Gators lost their next game to LSU before winning their next three games and the SEC East crown, but the cloud of the suspension has loomed over the season for more than a month.
After weeks of meticulous preparation, Grier and his attorney, Clay Townsend (father of Florida punter Johnny Townsend), sent paperwork regarding the appeal into the NCAA and finally made their case to mitigate the suspension on Monday in a conference call.
This update, as every update regarding this situation has done, created even more questions.
What did Will Grier do?
Will Grier tested positive for a substance that was on the NCAA’s list of banned substances. The name of the substance was not released publically. HIPPA law states that it would be up to Grier or his family to release that information to the public and they have chosen not to at this point in time.
The NCAA literature that explains the banned substance list warns student-athletes that there is “no complete list of banned substances”, basically saying that there have been so many things banned that a true, complete list hasn’t even been complied.
Where has Grier been?
As many fans have noticed, Grier has not been at practice since the suspension was announced. When asked about Grier’s absence at practice, Jim McElwain was quick to point out that Grier had a lot going on in his personal life that he needed to take care of.
Additionally, rumors have swirled on social media that Grier has been seen in North Carolina, where he is from, and that he hasn’t been attending class.
Yes, Grier has spent some time in North Carolina, helping his father — who coaches at Davidson Day, Grier’s former high school. Grier is unable to travel with the team, so going home on the weekend doesn’t indicate anything. Grier has been in Gainesville and attending class throughout this process. He remains a part of the football team and a full-time student at the University.
What is the punishment for this infraction?
The punishment for testing positive for a banned performance enhancing substance is a one-year ban from participating in intercollegiate sports. That suspension would keep Grier sidelined until October 12 of 2016, meaning he would miss the final six games of this season (not including the SEC Championship game or bowl game) and the first six games of next season.
What is Grier appealing and what is the goal of the appeal?
Regardless of the outcome that the NCAA committee comes to, Grier’s 2015 season is done. Grier and his attorney are not petitioning to have his eligibility immediately restored, rather to have the suspension mitigated, or shortened.
When will a final decision be rendered?
The NCAA rulebook states that a decision could be made as quickly as 24-48 hours after the appeal is heard (it was presented and heard on Monday afternoon), but the NCAA truly works on its own time. Typically the NCAA
Sources have told Gator Country that a decision could come as soon as this week or next week.