Florida Top Recruit May Be Ineligible

Somewhat abruptly and most certainly unexpectedly, Florida announced before their opener Saturday that starting defensive end Sharrif Floyd had been declared ineligible and would not play against FAU.  No reason was given by the school, only it was “an issue that is not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida.”

Since then a couple of developments have surfaced that shed some light on both the situation and when the true sophomore could see the issue resolved.

First and most importantly for the here and now, multiple media outlets, including initially by Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post, Floyd is expected to have a hearing on his eligibility in front of the NCAA Tuesday.  It’s unclear how soon after the hearing the NCAA will rule on Floyd’s eligibility.

The school is not commenting beyond its original Saturday statement, with head coach Will Muschamp saying Monday that he has “no comment on that right at this point.”

As far as the reason or reasons behind the eligibility issue, Lieser raised a great point over the weekend as to the wording of UF’s statement, which took great pains to mention that neither the school’s boosters nor his recruitment by the Gators were involved.  Floyd’s high school coach took the speculation a step further, stating that he believes the player’s recruitment by North Carolina is the NCAA’s focus.

“I know he was highly recruited by North Carolina, and I believe that’s where his name came up with the NCAA,” Ron Cohen, who coached the defensive lineman at Philadelphia George Washington High School, told the Post.

“As far as I know, the recruiting process went fine,” Cohen said in a subsequent interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “From what I understand, it had nothing to do with the University of Florida. His name came up when he … was recruited by North Carolina heavily.”

Cohen also made certain to note that he does not know with any degree of certainty what the allegations are.

Floyd’s ties to UNC would appear to involve John Blake, the Tar Heels DL coach and recruiting coordinator who “stepped down” from those positions last September after being accused of steering players to an NFL agent in exchange for “financial considerations“.  Floyd was heavily recruited by several schools coming out of high school in 2010, including Blake and the Tar Heels.  Cohen hinted that there was something not quite right about Blake and his recruitment of Floyd.

I didn’t really know (Blake) that well,” Cohen told the Gainesville Sun, which also noted that Cohen said in a 2009 interview that he had a great relationship with Blake. “When he came to recruit Sharrif he didn’t spend much time with me for whatever reason. Other coaches that came — Florida coaches, Ohio State coaches, South Carolina coaches, Penn State coaches, USC coaches — all came first class. It was a great experience for Sharrif and for me.”

Cohen added that he spoke to the NCAA in January, although that conversation centered around a bake sale conducted a year earlier to help raise money for Floyd to travel to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl — on NBC — as well as unofficial visits to schools.  It doesn’t appear likely that’s what the NCAA is interested in this time around, but, if it is, Cohen has some pointed words for The Association.

“If that’s what it is they’re going to make a fool of themselves,” Cohen said. “I’ll lose all respect for them as a governing body. But I don’t know. I guess I’ll know more (Tuesday).”

What impact if any this would have on the UNC football program is unclear.  The school will appear in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions to answer a Notice of Allegations sent in June that included nine alleged violations, including three found to have been committed by Blake.

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