Lane Kiffin said he is through apologizing to Florida.
Kiffin issued a public apology for wrongly accusing the reigning BCS football champions and coach Urban Meyer of cheating while recruiting. Kiffin said that he felt like that was enough, and he didn’t plan to contact Meyer personally to say he was sorry.
“I already apologized to [Meyer] and anybody at the University of Florida that I may have offended, and I figured that was enough,” Kiffin told the AJC in an interview on Tuesday.
It has become one of college football biggest controversies. It started at a recruiting breakfast with Tennessee supporters on Feb. 5, the day after National Signing Day. Wide receiver prospect Nu’Keese Richardson switched at the last minute from Florida to Tennessee.
“I love the fact Urban had to cheat and still didn’t get [Richardson],” Kiffin told the crowd, when referring to the fact that Meyer called Richardson while he was on a recruiting trip to Tennessee — not a violation.
Kiffin was reprimanded by the SEC for accusing Florida of illegal recruiting tactics with Richardson, and Kiffin issued a statement of apology to Meyer.
“If you were in the setting, the way it came across that day was a lot different that the way it runs across the ticker,” Kiffin said. “It is what it is, and it’s over now. But I was … energizing the crowd. It was not as bad [as it was made out to be]. I didn’t mean any disrespect toward the University of Florida or Coach Meyer.”
Tennessee defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, Lane’s dad, told the Orlando Sentinel earlier this month that his son felt bad about the comment. ”He respects coaches. He wasn’t trying to come across as arrogant. He’s not arrogant. He respects Urban Meyer. He respects all coaches.”
On Tuesday, Kiffin confirmed his dad’s words. “I felt bad about the way it was getting out,” he said.
“Unless you’re there [at the breakfast], you can’t really understand the [atmosphere], the timing of my comments and the mood of what was going on. Like I said, it’s over with. If it offended anyone at Florida, I’m sorry.”
Update: Also on Tuesday, Kiffin tells the AJC that his response to Florida players posting his pictures in the Gators lockerrooom is “free advertising” [Click here to read it]