Muschamp rant earns recruiting currency

Sharrif Floyd, who was suspended for the first two games of the season, gets ready for the start of the game against the University of Tennessee. (Brad McClenny/Staff photographer)

There is certainly no doubting the sincerity of Florida head coach Will Muschamp’s angry rant against the NCAA’s decision to suspend sophomore defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd a couple of weeks ago. But perhaps the most lasting result of Muschamp’s rant could be felt in recruiting.

Shockwaves were sent out across the nation on Sept. 8 when Muschamp — a brand new head coach with all of one game under his belt, a young man in the coaching ranks — lashed out at the NCAA publicly like few coaches ever have.

The Sharrif Floyd story is well known to Gator fans by now. He grew up impoverished in Philadelphia and needed help from his high school coaches, guidance counselor and community just to stay off the streets, with clothes and food. Floyd also accepted help in the form of travel expenses for unofficial recruiting visits. He reported all of this to the University of Florida Athletic Association Office of Compliance.

“One of my friends that was also being recruited, as I was starting to be highly recruited, started getting investigated,” Floyd recalled after playing his first game last Saturday. “So I felt the need to come to (Florida’s) compliance office, tell them everything I’ve been through, help them to understand my story. They told me nothing was wrong, so I had no worries. I kept working out, kept getting ready for the season.”

Two and a half hours before the season opener, Floyd was told by the UF compliance office that he would not play. When the NCAA took two games away, he said, it felt like they were piling on.

Muschamp reacted swiftly, crafting the following statement that was released on the same day the NCAA made its decision …

I’m angered, disgusted and extremely disappointed that Sharrif will have to miss two games.

In my opinion Sharrif is getting lumped into what is bad about college athletics. As we indicated in the statement Saturday night his issue was not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else.

Sharrif is what is good about college athletics – his life is about survival, struggle, disappointment and adversity. I have recruited kids that did not know where they would sleep that night or what they would eat. Growing up, Sharrif was one these kids. Sharrif’s life is also about triumph, honesty, integrity, determination, perseverance and character. The NCAA stated that he received preferential treatment; there is nothing preferential about his life.

He grew up with only his great grandmother and still sends her Pell Grant money so she can pay her bills. How many kids do you know that would do that? I know one – Sharrif Floyd.

I want to make it clear that this issue is not about sports agents, Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else. The issue is about his survival and the only reason the NCAA, the SEC and the University of Florida were aware of these issues is because Sharrif brought them to our attention last February. He came forward because, as I said before, he is honest and because of his integrity.

The toughest day that I have had as a head football coach at Florida was the day that I had to tell Sharrif that he could not play in our game vs. FAU last week. I took away part of his family.

He had tears in his eyes and said “What have I done wrong?” I told him he did nothing wrong. It wasn’t any easier to tell him today that he would be missing Saturday’s game.

I have two sons at home — if they end up like Sharrif I will consider myself a successful father.

Florida players, like sophomore Trey Burton, were soothed by Muschamp’s public show of support.

“(It says) that he has our back,” Burton said after Florida’s game against UAB. “We knew from Day 1 that he had our back no matter what, especially with something like that. It’s comforting to know that.”

No one felt it more than Floyd.

“I love Coach Muschamp and the whole staff. When that happened, our bond just got closer,” he said on Saturday night. “He understands my situation. He understands the type of person that I am, and so do all the other coaches, especially the defensive staff who is around me every day.

“So I love all the coaches for how they approached it, and Jamie (McCloskey, UF’s Senior Associate Athletic Director of Compliance) and Mr. (Jeremy) Foley for the way they approached it. I couldn’t ask for more.”

With Muschamp leading the way, the Gator players rallied around Floyd.

“It just showed me how much I mean to the team and how much the team cares about me,” Floyd said. “And I love all of those guys. I’d do anything for any of them. I mean, really, anything for any of them. Walk-ons, too. So, I was happy to see that. Yeah, it was pretty touching.”

There simply is no team-building exercise that could be more effective than how Muschamp handled a difficult situation in which one of his best players missed two games.

And there is little doubt that propsects and their families and coaches took notice. College coaches talk to teenage recruits and their parents all the time about having father figures when they leave home. They constantly tout the family atmosphere in their programs.

Few have proven it to such an extent as Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators did with Sharrif Floyd.


  1. “I have two sons at home. If they end up like Sharrif I will consider myself a successful father.” That pretty much sums it up for Sharrif Floyd. It brings me much joy and pride knowing that we have someone with such class and integrity as Sharrif Floyd on our team, and a coach who appreciates and respects players like Sharrif. We can all learn from them both. Go Gators!

  2. Im a Gator 100%…I believe in what the new staff is creating…..A key football coach during the NFL football roundup on sunday was talking about what it takes to make it in the4 pros….Somehow he mentioned the Florida Program and how well it is going right from the beginning….He said you first have to have an incredible staff…Then they have to be completely organized with a known mission….Then they have to be smart enough to design and offense and defense with the right schemes…..He said this Florida program is going to do it right this year and surprise alot of the country……Muschamp is the ideal coach along with the whole staff….However I bet that he will be told to tone it down a little on the sidelines…..It is great but…..its alot worse tham SOS throwing his visor…..
    I love him but i feel we are going to get targeted if it continues on the scale it did versus Tennesse…Go gators….

  3. Will is simply saying the things that most sports fans know and think about the NCAA and their regulation$ that affect the student/athlete. Fortunately, he has the “chutzpah”, putting it nicely, that others have not had in the past. It’s just a question of time before the NCAA is a thing of the past…,and none to soon.

  4. I agree. Muschamp did exactly the right thing and has been applauded for it. He has proven to be a man’s man and will be a great Gator coach. Now, can someone tell me why Mike Gundy was pilloried for doing essentially the same thing in 2007, when he made his famous, “I’m a Man” rant. He was standing up for one of his players, just as Muschamp did. The difference is that his rant was against a sportswriter, and rightly so because she misrepresented facts to talk down an OSU player. It’s shameful that he was ridiculed as an idiot rather than honored as a father figure like Muschamp, but I guess the writers must protect their own.

  5. Bob…I’m sure some may think he’s worse than SOS throwing a visor, etc. But, no one can question Will Muschamp’s passion for his players. The comments from the kids about knowing he has their backs will reverberate throughout recruiting circles and will pay great future dividends. Whether he tosses a visor or blows a gasket. I’m glad he’s ours.

  6. No one is going to tell Muschamp to tone it down! Are you kidding? How do you think his passion plays with recruits? Our program is looking so good right now it’s amazing. Foley deserves a huge amount of credit.

  7. Muschamp, Weis,and staff will return the GatorNation to a Powerhouse.
    Tebow turned the Gatornation into a Powerhouse.
    John Brantley doesn’t even know where the Powerhouse neighborhood is !
    I bet Jeff Driskel can find it real soon after being put in the driver’s seat!……
    Brissett too. Let’s start rebuilding that house now.

  8. The Broncos, last game, lined Tebow up as a pass-receiver where Pro LBs & DBs can full-speed cut him in half even when the throw goes to the other side
    Then Tim can physically deteriorate to prove those biased negative experts right all along. What an offensive scheme!

  9. Let’s tone down the Brantley doesn’t get it stuff. He’s not making the big mistakes that get us blown out of the game yet. Wait until after the Auburn game. If we win two of the Bama, LSU and Auburn games I guarantee you Brantley will know where the SECC championship neighborhood is.

  10. I am very pleased with Will’s reaction. Not only was he defending his player but he was sincere.

    Many coaches praies the integrity of their players……Chizik praising Cam’s integrity in his book, pretty funny stuff….. but this case is legitimate.

    I agree that the Shariff situation is dramatically different than the typical mercenary looking for payola (see Cam Newton story) and the NCAA could rebuild it’s credibility if they had the common sense to see the difference.

    I am also okay with the “sideline antics” as some of you call it. The coach must let officials know that he is on to them. Zook was a perfect gentleman on the sidelines and the officials screwed him consistently.

  11. Good for Muschamp and good for Floyd. Both wrong and both paid the price, but relationship-widse the bond is strngthened.
    This isn’t about a poor kid being “helped out”. It’s a about a foundation created for the sole purpose of funneling money to prospective athletes. It’s about the money being used to house athletes in hotels at bogus rates subsidized by boosters. In short, it’s about breaking the NCAA rules by an unregistered athletic “organization” whose Board includes a parent of the athlete most affected (@S. Carolina).It is in direct violation of NCAA rules about receiving outside benefits.
    FLoyd got his break by self-reporting and by being contrite and fairly naive (2 gamer instead of the 4 that others got and will get). Muschamp and UF had nothing to do with it and should now just shutup while they’re ahead – but score one for being willing to loudly defend the player.

  12. Sharrif Floyd is a great example of what constitutes a great leader and hero! This is the acronym we used in the U.S. Army for what Floyd has displayed – “LDRSHIP”. Loyality, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. I would be proud to have him as a relative or friend and I feel that if there were more Floyd’s in this world it would truely be a better place for all! Great job Coach Muschamp! GO GATORS!!!

  13. Well, then, there, sheriff: it’s all about which side you want to be on. If you’re a-wantin’ to side with the NCAA which says that recruits must afford to be saints, and, iffin not, must just suck it, sit at home, and pray. If you’re like the humans among us, then you see a kid who’s done nothing wrong except choosing to be born into poverty. The American Dream has been debunked a thousand times. Everyone needs help; whether it happens at birth or later should not matter.

  14. Gator Ed- I thought that your words were spot on in relation to the situation. The NCAA is a broken tool that needs fixing. I salute Muschamp’s behavior on the sideline. It demonstrates that he is emotionally invested in his career and represents a pleasant change from the robotic responses of Meyer. Watching both of them speak at a Gator function, it was obvious one was there for a paycheck and the other was there because he both cared and believed. I am thrilled we hired him before UGA had the opportunity. Go Gators!

  15. @ Sheriff – You just don’t get it, do you? Since you are not a fan of UF, you should comment on your team’s coverage and not worry about what happens at UF. Floyd accepted assistance that was sought after by someone trying to help him. He didn’t take the money to go out and buy some bling! It’s the NCAA’s inability to see the difference between someone taking money out of greed and someone who genuinely needed help. Plus, he was a kid, living in a situation most adults couldn’t handle and he did so without sacrificing his soul. We are proud that Shariff is a Gator and proud Champ is our Coach! As for you others, there is no better DB Coach and he can go off all he wants too! You know you have the enemy scared when they start attacking you!

  16. The guy has that fire in his gut…its clear to see. I don’t think any coaching staff will be more hungry that the gators this year and the upcoming years. He’s doing pretty much everything by the book organized staff, good chemistry between the team, and he’s bringing an level of intensity that may take time to settle on some but I love it! Muschamp is definately the guy we needed…Go gators! (that 10-3 schedule is looking very possible eh?!)

  17. I agree with Joe! It is an AWESOME story of how coach supported his players and how they love him for it, but IT DIDNT SPEAK TO ANY RECRUITS. Every coach in the nation can tell a story of how they supported a player on the team. Jeff, let us know if any recuits are touched by this story!

  18. I read all of the “Great Job Muschamp” posts but what I am waiting for is when he loses two, three, four or more games in a row.

    Most, if not all of you will want to flush him straight down the toilet and act like you never liked him and knew it would turn out this way.

  19. Good for Muschamp. I am still iffy about him. But if he can lead us to a Sec championship I am 100percent behind him. And hopeful John Brantley will have a good senior year.GO GATORS.7 wins against UT how fun is that.