NCAA suspends Florida QB Will Grier for a year over banned substance
The NCAA has suspended Florida Gators starting quarterback Will Grier for a full year, including the rest of the 2015 season, for an violation of its banned substances policy.
Florida starting quarterback Will Grier will miss the rest of the 2015 season and could sit out up to a full year of action after testing positive for a banned substance.
Grier and coach Jim McElwain confirmed at a Monday press conference that the NCAA has given Grier its mandatory full calendar year suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. An emotional Grier said his positive test had been caused by an over-the-counter supplement he'd failed to have OK'd by Gators medical staff before ingesting.
"I really hope that people can learn from my mistake," Grier said. "I'm really sorry to everyone. Just really sorry."
McElwain said Florida will appeal the length of the suspension to the NCAA, hoping to reduce it from its current 12 months. A redshirt freshman, Grier is allowed to practice with the Gators but not travel with the team.
"I don't want anybody to forget, we're in this for these young men. We feel for him, we feel his pain," McElwain said. He had a chance to address the team and spoke from the heart. One of the things he expressed ... is the opportunity you have to maybe affect somebody else's life and understand that we can learn from this.
"As a university, we will appeal this, and we support Will, his family obviously in every way possible ... It's something that he feels horrible about. It's an honest mistake, and yet, can be prevented by just checking with our medical staff. I want everybody to understand that this is a mistake we'll learn from."
NCAA bylaws state that such a positive test results in a calendar year-long ban, which would mean Grier could miss a portion of the 2016 campaign as well. He will not, however, lose a year of eligibility and will be considered a redshirt sophomore in 2016.
Under Bylaw 18.104.22.168.1, the student-athlete becomes ineligible for all regular season and postseason competition until eligibility is reinstated by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff on behalf of the committee. Pursuant to Bylaw 22.214.171.124.1, requests for reinstatement of eligibility will not be considered until the student-athlete has remained ineligible for a minimum of one calendar year (365 days) after the student-athlete has tested positive for a banned substance and after the student-athlete has been withheld from the equivalent of an NCAA season, the student-athlete retests negative by the NCAA (notice of which is provided to the student-athlete reinstatement staff by The National Center for Drug Free Sport), and the institution submits a request for reinstatement of eligibility via AMA Online.
The Gators, among the nation's biggest surprises and ranked No. 8 in Sunday's AP Top 25, face No. 6 LSU in a key SEC game Saturday.
Since taking over the starting job against Tennessee, Grier has emerged as a steady option for the Gators under center and was already on pace to have the best statistical season for a Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow. Through six games Grier has totaled 1,204 yards and 10 touchdowns on 65.8 percent passing at 7.5 yards per attempt.
Sophomore Treon Harris, who has been suspended already this season as well, will likely take over the quarterbacking duties with Grier sidelined. Harris will be tasked with continuing the development of this offense, which has far exceeded expectations during the Gators' 6-0 start to the season. If Florida is going to continue its chase of an SEC East title, the entire offense must raise its level of play to make up for the loss of Grier.
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