By Mark Long
AP Sports Writer
DESTIN — Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin offered a telling response when asked about standout receiver Antonio Callaway at the Southeastern Conference’s annual meetings Friday.
Asked how involved he is in Callaway’s situation, Stricklin responded: “Which one?”
Callaway is facing two misdemeanor drug charges stemming from a traffic stop in Gainesville last month. The junior from Miami was charged with marijuana possession (less than 20 grams) and drug equipment possession. He also was the subject of a Title IX investigation last year. He was eventually ruled “not responsible” of sexual battery against a female student.
Callaway has a Tuesday court date to address the drug charges.
Stricklin said he and coach Jim McElwain have discussed discipline for Callaway.
“Candidly, to this point we’ve had an issue come up and he’s said, ‘Hey, this is what I’m going to do and he’s handled it well,'” Stricklin said. “He has not shied away from having to use discipline in the past. He’s sat key guys in the past.”
McElwain previously suspended star cornerback Jalen Tabor twice as well as backup quarterback Treon Harris.
“The thing you have to respect about Coach Mac is he has never shied away from discipline as a teachable moment,” Stricklin said. “You heard from him the other day that he’s staying on top of that and it’s obviously a concern. To answer your question, I’ve had conversation with Coach Mac and we’ll probably have further conversations about it.”
Stricklin declined to say whether Callaway should or would be suspended for Florida’s season opener against Michigan on Sept. 2 in Arlington, Texas.
“That’s a conversation for Coach Mac and me to have,” he said. “That’s not something I’m going to discuss publicly. But there’s not a one-size-fits-all, and you got to take all the information available to you and sometimes not the information is available publicly that you have access to and you have to do what you think is right to help the young person develop and improve and hopefully learn from mistakes that are made.
“Coach Mac publicly has stated we have to make sure young people are surrounding themselves with the kind of people they need to be around. When that’s not happening, you need to find ways to encourage them to do so.”
Callaway was a passenger in a black Mercedes SUV when Gainesville Police Department officers stopped the vehicle for a seatbelt violation. Kendrick Williams, a 40-year-old man with a history of criminal charges, also was in the SUV.
The police report said officers smelled marijuana in the car and then found 7 grams of the drug in Callaway’s pocket during a search. Williams also was found with marijuana.
“I want to be careful not talking specifically about a young person and their behavior,” Stricklin said. “But when you have young people who seem to be making consistent mistakes, it certainly gets your attention and is something you want to correct.”