Updated: Scarlett, Wells suspended for Michigan game

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Florida Gators running back Jordan Scarlett (25) joined the suspension list. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer/file]

Jim McElwain and the coaches’ goal for preseason camp was to make the players uncomfortable by putting them in difficult situations and see how they respond.

As it turns out, some of the players likely have made McElwain and his staff uncomfortable by turning Florida into Suspension U.

The latest bombshell dropped Wednesday, with the news that junior starting running back Jordan Scarlett and redshirt freshman reserve wide receiver Rick Wells have been suspended from all team activities and will not be making the trip to Arlington, Texas, for the season opener against Michigan.

That brings to 10 the number of players suspended from Saturday’s game.

“Early this afternoon we were made aware of a couple of more guys,” McElwain said. “Obviously, one of those is Jordan Scarlett that won’t be going with us this week and won’t be part of any team activities, as the other guys have not been until whatever it is is resolved.

“As you know, the one thing I will never do is look the other way and try to hide something. The guys on our team understand the responsibility, but with that, people think of the distractions and that type of thing, and yet, it’s an opportunity for more guys to go and play and play their tails off.”

Nine of the 10 suspensions, including Scarlett and Wells, stem from an ongoing University Police Department investigation into allegations of credit card fraud.

The seven other players involved in the possible credit card fraud are wide receiver Antonio Callaway, offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort, linebacker James Houston, linebacker Ventrell Miller, defensive end Keivonnis Davis, defensive tackle Richerd Desir-Jones and defensive end Jordan Smith. They were reportedly buying items at the campus bookstore with their student identification cards, which didn’t have sufficient funds for the transactions, and later selling the items for cash.

The other suspended player is true freshman wide receiver James Robinson, who was cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana earlier this month.

McElwain said he was surprised when he found out two more players — Scarlett and Wells — were involved in the ongoing investigation. He said he doesn’t anticipate any further suspensions.

“I didn’t expect these. I don’t expect any more,” he said. “But at the same time, if there is, it will be dealt with. Some places, who knows, you might try to figure it out and yet at the end of the day, the positive is we’re going to handle what it is and not run and hide. There are some guys who are going to step up and play their tails off. That will be fun to watch.”

The first seven suspensions were announced Aug. 13. After that news broke, McElwain addressed the issue with his players during a team meeting, but none stepped forward to say they might be involved

“We had a nice discussion about it. Yes we did,” McElwain.

McElwain was asked if Scarlett and Wells are in more trouble for not revealing they were involved.

“I don’t know,” he said. “They’re in trouble. So I don’t know what more is or what less is. What you hope is you learn from the lesson.”

With Scarlett and Callaway suspended, the Gators with be without their two most productive offensive players Saturday. Scarlett led the team in rushing last season, while Callaway was UF’s leading receiver.

At running back, Lamical Perine and Mark Thompson are expected to share playing time Saturday. The Gators also will have two true freshmen — Malik Davis and Adarius Lemons — ready to go.

“We’ve bumped Mark and Lamical (up),” McElwain said. “Malik will play a ton as well. Those guys will be in there, and then Adarius, who’s had a good camp. We’ll carry those four going into it. So from a rotation standpoint, it probably moved Malik up into a few more things.”

The nine players involved in possible credit card fraud have been suspended indefinitely, and will not be allowed to return until restitution has been made and the investigation is complete.

UPD confirmed that there is an ongoing investigation into possible credit card fraud. No charges have been filed thus far.

McElwain said he does not anticipate the investigation dragging for a lengthy period of time.

“Well, you know, it’s interesting,” he said. “If we’re made aware of whatever it is or anything else, the proper things will happen. We’re not going to hide anything from there. Do I expect it (to drag on)? No. I don’t expect it. And yet you don’t know either. I don’t have a crystal ball.

“At the same time, sometimes through adversity, it actually brings a group tighter together. We have a really tight group right now.”

The suspensions stem from a legal issue, and do not appear to involve any potential NCAA compliance issues for the program.

“I don’t think there is. I don’t see it as that,” McElwain said. “Obviously, when anything happens, one of the things you do is discipline and you call it out and you say it as it is. That’s when usually people go in. I invite them in, come on. The one thing I do know is we’re going to handle it and we’re going to handle it right.”

41 COMMENTS

  1. Please sportswriters, coaches, bleeding hearts, et al…tell me again how “they’re just kids, this is immaturity, blah and blah…” How long does this crap go on, Gators?? Scarlett, you are a junior – what the hell did you do, and are you that damn stupid? The team keeps getting kneecapped by a few selfish idiots, and this will have some real game consequences. It’s one thing for Michigan to beat us on the field, but we’re beating ourselves much worse right now.

    • Yea, I feel it too, 10 suspensions is the sign of a program falling apart, no leadership, a loss to Michigan and McElwain will take the first offer that comes his way next winter, closing in on 10 years of mediocrity.

      • What offers are going to come his way after another year of mediocrity? The only offers he would get would be demotions to lesser programs or assistant positions.

  2. Just when you think the embarrassment will end and ESPN can stop running the scrolls every ten minutes about how many Gator players are suspended, this team gives them fresh ammunition to pile on. The reputation and perception of UF is what is at stake here more so than any one football game this weekend.

  3. We have heard ad nauseam how the roster has turned and that this is finally McElwain’s team. A total embarrassment to the athletic program and University in general…

  4. I’m hoping this is part of the original issue and the investigation just uncovered it. Hopefully, they didn’t actually continue the behavior after everyone else got caught. Just curious, what are the details of what they did. I live in Columbus and I lived through the Terrell Pryor tattoo fiasco and subsequent cover up by Tressel. Seems as if we won’t have the cover up issue here.

  5. I am really embarrassed right now!!! If I could I would cancel my flight, rental car, hotel, tickets for myself and my family. I also have season tickets and can’t believe that UF would not have more monetary control over the expenditures of these credit cards! You can call them kids if you want, but we have sent even younger off to war, so don’t use that paltry excuse! I am a Veteran and know that I represent in my actions and appearance this Nation in which I continue to serve. So now I have to listen to fans from these other hypocritical schools ridicule me for supporting and wearing “The Gator Brand”!. These young men have an opportunity to make millions and have all kind of accolades just for playing a sport!!! I credit Coach Mac for having the courage to do what most coaches around this sport wouldn’t have done! Maybe it’s good that Tebow went to baseball, because football seems to be lacking a lot of character these days!!!

    • Hey Mr. Maltby,

      What the ___ are you talking about? They have the opportunity to make millions? Most of these young men will not even sniff the NFL, so your assumption of their future earnings is incorrect; unless you mean they are future CEOs or maybe NCAA administrators?

      Also, what does sending 18-year-olds to war have anything to do with playing college football? While the ages may be the same, the actions are clearly different.

      If I were to make an excuse for the suspended players, it’s that they are given a small stipend in exchange for almost 12-16 hours of their days spent doing physical labor in order to make the university and the NCAA billions of dollars. If anything, this is proof that the NCAA should be paying players. They have to resort to ridiculous schemes to have money in their pockets.

      • Nikhil. Those kid doing “physical labor” on a football field playing sport they love get a free college education, all the food they want, a dorm, all their school supplies, and a stipend from the university. Poor babies. I wish I had received all that when I was truly conducting “physical labor” while putting myself through the University of Florida back in the day. Unfortunately, I was not very skilled at football.

        • Tampa gator, I despise stealing in any form, depending on what and why they did I’ll pass judgement. Most of these kids were highly rated recruits, that came from middle or upper class families, so bending corners and beating the system is a way of life growing up, hopefully they grow up quick. Working a campus job and attend classes while practicing football. I don’t know. It wasn’t a violent crime so maybe they can make right this mistake.

      • BS! They also get a scholarship, which too many are happy to throw away. Their 12-16 hours “physical labor” are VOLUNTARY! They don’t have to be there, and could stay home applying their non-athletic skills to whatever entry-level job might hire them. Gimme a break.

      • Uhhhh, they can quit football and hit the books and take out a student loan to go to college like most other students any time they want if they aren’t happy with the deal they are getting. I get so sick of people whining about what these players get. If they don’t like it, DONT PLAY!!!! The guy that Florida passed on to give these guys a scholly will be glad to take their place!!

      • Nikhil, I think you’ve missed the point. Sounds like you can justify to yourself that this behavior is acceptable based on economics. This isn’t about economics. It’s more about doing the right thing. If you are a parent or if and when you become a parent, I hope you can advise your kids appropriately and not lead them down the path of deceit and corruption…no matter the circumstances or situation. Go Gators!

    • Tom Maltby. There are 75 remaining players on the Florida football roster right now that have chosen to respect their coach and the university with character and hard work both on and off the field. Go “remaining” Gators. Beat Michigan, with class and some really hard work and dedication to excellence. Gator Nation is still with you.

      • TampaGator. I hope you are right that this is the end and we can take 75 players to Dallas. Unfortunately, I am afraid this is the tip of the iceberg and more players are going to fall out of this in the coming days/weeks. I still think we can take the Wolverines because the both Callaway and Scarlett come from the areas of our team where depth is the best. In my opinion, Callaway’s last game in a Gator uniform is in the past.

  6. Every year we have 2 or 3 players suspended,, but this year we have 10 players, I’m talking about 10. Not only have they let themselves down but to start with, the coaching staff, their fellow players who works very hard at practice while they are taking it easy, and last, the millions of fans who support them. To the 10 players I have this to say to each and every of you, THANKS A WHOLE LOT FOR LETTING ALL OF US DOWN.

  7. I’ve had it with McElwain and his laid back, yuk-it-up style of coaching. He’s lost control of this team and will have a very difficult time of getting the players of the same mind set. These players are criminals and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Show no mercy as this type of behavior deserves none.

  8. Ricky. To the remaining 75 players on the Florida football roster who are ready and eager to play well vs. Michigan, I say, THANKS A WHOLE LOT FOR DOING ALL THE RIGHT THINGS AND REPRESENTING GATORNATION SO WELL AND NOT LETTING US DOWN.

  9. The distractions on this “team” are entirely too many … we’ll be lucky to not get blown out. Shame on these players, they are living up to the “thug” stereotype that most people accuse the SEC of having. Is winning worth the integrity of the school? These players, at a minimum, should be kicked off the team, and then prosecuted ….

  10. Why don’t we see this happening to a Nick Saban team? Answer, the players have respect for the school, the coach and themselves.

  11. Hey Mr. Nikhil,

    You are naive and way out of line in your response. Clearly you have no insight in to the world of college football and the NFL. The OPPORTUNITY is there for success and to make millions! More so than a lot of other careers. I will not entertain your absurdities or irreverence, especially when I made a valid correlation of the brave young men and women who went war. You can take your condescending remarks and stick them where don’t shine!
    Respectfully,
    Mr. Matlby
    P.S. GFY!

  12. Wasn’t Scarlet just quoted in the paper advising Robinson on his issues. What a joke. These guys weren’t screened effectively coming out of high school or their history was ignored. They didn’t become whatever you call this overnight. I say we should dismiss them. The school’s reputation is at stake. Anything else will compromise the school’s integrity. Decision should come from the highest level in the university. If we get a U of Miami reputation it will stick forever. Sadly, we better cut them in order to demonstrate respect for our students, graduates, and university.

  13. I agree . Mac and h is Buck Owens (Hee Haw) attitude of running things at UF have become second nature and it is showing big time. Gator Nation will not stand for it. I know SOS won’t be associated with it. No wonder he is looking for another job. Time for Mac to man up or hit the road. Suck it up buttercup!!

  14. I will root and cheer my butt off for ALL THE PLAYERS (and that’s a lot) that have busted their butts all summer and done the RIGHT THINGS! And for the record, they aren’t getting much love here in the comment section. ”In all kinds of weather” apparently only applies to a select few?
    No, the majority of this team has earned all of our respect and fandom! GO GATORS! Chomp-up the Wolverines! And as for the few that made yet another selfish act of fraud, or pot smoking (Robinson) after your Head Coach went to bat for you, when few would, I hope this punishment of watching the GATORS KICK MICHIGANS BUTTS… without you, hurts! I hope it hurts so bad you never forget how you sold out your Head Coach and Asst. Coaches, and your fellow-team mates, and us, the Gator fans!

  15. This is on McElwain. He has lost control of his players and the inmates are running the asylum. The Florida Gators will be an NCAA College Football punchline all season.

  16. Let’s put this credit card “fraud” into perspective. I know many Gator fans are outraged but the total amount involved in the scheme by all the players is in the order of a whopping $1,500. McElwain has the players working to pay it all back to make it right. They are also being punished by getting suspended from the team and completing other in-house “chores” as they should be.

    It’s not the devastation of Harvey or Katrina due to incompetent officials. It’s not the worldwide financial melt down of 2008 caused by the fat cats of the financial industry pushing subprime mortgages to those who could not repay but none ended up getting charged, arrested, or prosecuted. It’s not the repeat of history in the form of the $1.5 trillion in student loans to students who are likely to drop out and can’t repay. Where is the outrage there?

    I know we are upset with these players and the inopportune suspensions right before a big game but let’s keep it in perspective. McElwain has recruited well for balance and depth. We should be alright this game and the season even with 10 less players. If we can beat Michigan and the suspensions are revoked soon, I’m certain we will forget about the suspensions and be happy again.

  17. Is Coach Mac just Urban Meyer 2.0, sketchy recruiting ethics! This is embarrassing to the whole university. Suspend Mac and put SOS in charge.

  18. I admire McElwain for dropping the hammer on these guys, even though it will adversely affect us on Saturday. Hopefully this will be the last of it…..

  19. No one should forget in the 80tys the gators were suspended for numerous violations. Fourty yrs of whats next ?? The hell with the excuses!! I personally don’t support the football team anymore.

  20. I complained about Jimbo Fisher and his unwillingness to hold King Crab Winston accountable. Looking the other way for his star was disgusting. Same deal here. Calloway should have already been dropped off at the bus station. Scarlett and the Other Idiots should be hammered beyond a single game, and dismissed for ANY other violations.

    Wish Mac showed as much deference to the fans as he does his coddled crooks.

  21. If Mac had as much regard for the fans as his coddled scholarship thieves, Callaway would already be at the bus station and Scarlett would be next.

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