As I’m sure we all know at this point, Florida star wideout Antonio Callaway has been suspended indefinitely, as has Treon Harris.
This announcement came last week, when Jim McElwain told the media that both guys would not be with the team for spring practice. He also mentioned that they had not been with the team since January.
And those two sentences were the full extent of his description of what happened to the two players. When pressed further, McElwain declared, “That will be the last time we’ll talk about it.”
It’s interesting to note his tone of voice, as well as his selection of words. We in the media have learned by now that Mac delivers a coded speech to announce a player getting suspended for something stupid like weed or underage drinking, which goes something like this: “What happened is that (Player A) made a choice not to participate in team activities for (period of time X) and he’ll be back with us (date Y).” While that’s far from the most descriptive explanation he could give, at least we know how to interpret it; there was no such explanation for the disappearances of Callaway and Harris. So from McElwain, we’ve learned approximately zero.
UF, for its part, did confirm that the two players had been suspended, but gave no further indication as to why they were not with the team. They did, however, confirm to Rivals that both were still enrolled in classes. That’s all the information the various representatives at Florida would give, so now we’re left to go out and search for more.
Multiple news outlets have repeatedly stated that neither Harris nor Callaway are currently under investigation by Gainesville PD or University Police, nor have they been mentioned in any police reports in the last few months. So that’s good. Callaway’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, then gave us the best piece of info to date- that Callaway had been suspended for a violation UF’s student code of conduct. Johnson added that the allegation “has no basis” and that Callaway “should be reinstated.”
But that still doesn’t help explain what either of them did, as UF’s student code of conduct is a really, really long list of do’s and don’ts. So all it does is describe what they didn’t do- and thus, what we don’t know.
What we do know is that Treon Harris has gotten in trouble with the law before. Harris was suspended for the Tennessee game last year along with Jalen Tabor for failing a drug test (which McElwain again labeled as “making a choice”). And in October of 2014, Harris was labeled as the assailant in a sexual assault case, and suspended indefinitely until the alleged victim withdrew her complaint.
It’s highly unlikely that this suspension is in any way connected to the alleged assault case. That investigation was closed a year and a half ago. It would be logical to wonder if Harris got caught with drugs again, but the fact that McElwain wouldn’t just give his usual coded speech about how he made a choice sort of raises doubts, too. And that wouldn’t explain why he would lump Harris and Callaway into the same sentence, giving the media the same non-explanation about Callaway for something Harris has done before and Callaway hasn’t, as well as something he has a scripted coded phrase for.
And while we’re on the subject of what they probably didn’t do, McElwain has also been up front with the media about players who’ve been suspended for academic reasons. He laid out all the details about graduate transfers Anthony Harrell and Mason Halter after they were suspended for the Citrus Bowl against Michigan, and described what they would be doing next: “They needed a C- and got a D+ so they weren’t able to come to this bowl game. And yet, they’ll come back and work on their masters this coming semester.”
So now we’re left with two possibilities. One is that McElwain has changed the way in which he’ll announce suspensions going forward. That’s not too farfetched, especially given that the media and fans alike quickly deciphered his “choices” line to mean “did something dumb.” Maybe he wants to keep his players from being embarrassed by refusing to give the public the details if said details are not available in police reports and would not get out anyway. The other possibility is that these guys pulled a new type of dumb stunt that McElwain hasn’t yet been forced to deal with, and thus doesn’t know how to play it or doesn’t want to. Or, of course, it could be some sort of combination of the two.
We can rest assured knowing that neither player did anything so awful that it’s wrecked their Gator careers forever, as something of this nature would likely show up in a police report. But on the other hand, we should also be a little wary of them both, given that whatever it was they did pissed McElwain off enough to suspend them for the entire spring- though he did leave the door ajar for their return before the end of spring ball.
All we can really do now is wait.