UPDATE: A source tells me that Grier is “almost certainly finished for 2015”. The source adds that the goal of the appeal is to get him back for the beginning of the 2016 season.
UPDATE: A lot of Gator fans on Facebook and twitter have been asking me if I think the appeal to lessen Grier’s suspension of one year (meaning the rest of the 2015 season plus the first six games of the 2016 season) will go through. Here’s my response:
Speaking in very approximate terms, I give Florida a hair under a 50/50 chance of winning the appeal. What Grier did was a violation, for sure, because he took a supplement that has a banned substance in it. But he was doing so in order to combat the nasty symptoms of the flu he picked up a couple of weeks ago, as opposed to taking it to gain an unfair advantage over his opponents.
Season long punishments should, in my opinion, be reserved for PED users like Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa, and that group. Those guys took steroids with the clear intention to gain what the MLB deemed an unfair advantage over their opponents. Had Grier been healthy, taken steroids for no reason other than simply to get stronger and put on more muscle, that would be not only a clear violation of NCAA rules, but an egregious effort to try to gain said unfair advantage. But since that wasn’t the case, the NCAA is put at a crossroads.
If the NCAA keeps their season long suspension of Grier for what seems to be a clear and honest mistake, they are doing one of two things: they are either telling future student athletes that positive drug tests with motives similar to McGwire and Sosa will result in punishments that are exponentially worse than a ban for the rest of the season (i.e. something between a two season ban and a permanent loss of scholarship) or they are saying that they simply don’t care for the nature of the offense, and that Brian Bosworth had them pegged right when he wore this shirt on the sideline for the 1987 Orange Bowl.
Make no mistake, Grier did something he shouldn’t have done. But he’s guilty of being ignorant and thoughtless as opposed to malicious and a cheater, and hopefully the NCAA will recognize that when they hear the appeal to lessen the length of his suspension. Hence the “hair under 50/50” odds I give it.
UPDATE: Jim McElwain has said that the Gators will appeal the suspension. NCAA rules dictate that Grier must remain suspended throughout the appeal process.
According to Grier, who just spoke at a press conference, he took an over the counter drug (presumably with the intention of fighting the flu he came down with prior to the Gators’ game against Ole Miss). “I’m really sorry to everyone… I’m just really sorry.” He teared up as he said this, and McElwain patted him on the back.
The worst thing that could possibly happen has happened.
Starting QB Will Grier has been suspended for the remainder of the 2015 season, a source told ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. Grier tested positive for Ligandrol, a performance enhancing drug (PED). That is obviously a violation of NCAA rules.
Needless to say, this a huge loss. Grier guided Florida to a 6-0 start this year, and had shown signs of tremendous improvement after a so-so start.
The QB duties will fall down to Treon Harris, who has proven himself to be a more than able backup in the past: he rescued the Gators against Tennessee last year after three quarters of Jeff Driskel’s ineptitude, and quarterbacked Florida to a win over rival Georgia, ruining the Bulldogs’ chances at a national championship.
We’ll have more on this story as it becomes available.