Those dirty, cheatin’ Florida Gators may be under NCAA investigation.
But seriously, don’t get too excited, folks.
According to report by ESPN.com, the NCAA is investigating an allegation that former Florida center Maurkice Pouncey, a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, was paid $100,000 by a representative of an agent some time after the Florida-Alabama SEC championship game against and before the Gators’ appearance in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati.
Let’s consider the worst-case scenario: Pouncey is guilty. That means Florida used an ineligible player in the Sugar Bowl. The ramifications: They would have to forfeit one win over the Cincinnati Bearcats.
So much the earth-shaking news in Gainesville. Or the parade in Athens.
Barring the NCAA finding Florida in violation of other allegations, the only way the Gators get slapped with a more significant penalty than vacating one win is if the NCAA finds that Florida knowingly used an illegal player in the Sugar Bowl. That issue was at the root of USC’s two-year probation with Reggie Bush. The difference is, Bush’s reported benefits took place over a series of several months, including his family living rent-free in a home that was provided by a sports marketing representative. The NCAA determined that the Trojans must have been aware of benefits Bush was receiving over a long period of time.
If Pouncey took $100,000 from the agent in the time frame that has been outlined, the NCAA would have to prove that Florida became aware of it after the SEC championship (Dec. 5) and before the Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1), a period of four weeks (some of which was a holiday break for players). It doesn’t seem likely the NCAA could prove that — nor does it seem plausible that coach Urban Meyer would care enough to cover up allegations of one player taking money from an agent for the sake of one bowl game that didn’t have national championship ramifications.
By the way, for the record, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said: “At this time we have no information that has indicated that there are any compliance issues for the University of Florida.”
The NCAA will take it from here.
So let me guess: You believe Florida should be hit with three years probation and loss of 30 scholarships?
Earlier today: Sneak Peek Monday: