Muschamp defends Sharrif Floyd, again

Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp came to his star defensive tackle’s defense, again.

A USA Today report Tuesday afternoon brought to light the fact Sharrif Floyd was adopted by Kevin Lahn, the businessman who gave Floyd extra benefits that resulted in an NCAA infractions case more than a year ago.

As he did a year ago, Muschamp defended his junior defender during Wednesday’s SEC coaches teleconference.

“I knew everything, and I absolutely was not ever worried about any eligibility issues,” Muschamp said. “Sharrif is a fine young man and everything’s above the board. The University of Florida has handled it with Sharrif and Kevin Lahn.”

The story alleges how Lahn now can provide Floyd with “far more” than the $2,700 that Floyd had to pay to charity, along with serving a two-game suspension, as part of the NCAA ruling. As an adopted parent, Lahn is treated just like any other parent of a student-athlete.

The story illustrated how Floyd’s situation has created a legal “loophole” for others to exploit in the future.

Muschamp did not seem to think this situation was another form of “pay-for-play,” considering the circumstances.

“What is so wrong with someone caring about someone else? What is so bad about that, that’s my question?,” Muschamp said. “The young man has done nothing wrong. My statement speaks for (itself) from what I said a year ago, and I stand by them today.”

Below is Muschamp’s full statement from a year ago:

“I’m angered, disgusted and extremely disappointed that Sharrif will have to miss two games.

In my opinion Sharrif is getting lumped into what is bad about college athletics. As we indicated in the statement Saturday night his issue was not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else.

Sharrif is what is good about college athletics — his life is about survival, struggle, disappointment and adversity. I have recruited kids that did not know where they would sleep that night or what they would eat. Growing up, Sharrif was one these kids. Sharrif’s life is also about triumph, honesty, integrity, determination, perseverance and character.  The NCAA stated that he received preferential treatment; there is nothing preferential about his life.

He grew up with only his great grandmother and still sends her Pell Grant money so she can pay her bills. How many kids do you know that would do that?  I know one — Sharrif Floyd.

I want to make it clear that this issue is not about sports agents, Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else.  The issue is about his survival and the only reason the NCAA, the SEC and the University of Florida were aware of these issues is because Sharrif brought them to our attention last February. He came forward because, as I said before, he is honest and because of his integrity.

The toughest day that I have had as a head football coach at Florida was the day that I had to tell Sharrif that he could not play in our game vs. FAU last week. I took away part of his family.

He had tears in his eyes and said ‘What have I done wrong?’ I told him he did nothing wrong. It wasn’t any easier to tell him today that he would be missing Saturday’s game.

I have two sons at home — if they end up like Sharrif I will consider myself a successful father.”

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Mike Capshaw brings a wealth of experience to the Gator Country team. He’s been overseeing all editorial aspects of and Gator Country magazine by managing our team of staffers, interns and freelancers. He is now moving into a bigger role as a reporter by covering the football and basketball beats as well as providing coverage of all sports on campus. Mike’s 15 years in the business has included more than six years of covering SEC sports and recruiting at a daily newspaper in Arkansas. He has also helped launch a newspaper, magazines, websites and even a sports talk radio show. Because Mike puts family ahead of his career, he left the place where he was established when his wife received an opportunity to further her career at UF. He took a leap of faith that he could find a job in the Gainesville area and worked for a year at a newspaper group before joining the Gator Country family in November, 2011. Mike has won Florida Press Association awards for Best Sports Game Story and Best Sports Feature Story in the past two years as well as a company-wide award at his former newspaper group that includes some 60 publications, for Excellence in Sports Reporting. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeCapshawGC.