It was only a week ago that I was lambasting Orlando Sentinel columnist Andrea It was only a week ago that I was lambasting Orlando Sentinel columnist Andrea

Florida Gators …. the next "Thug U"?


It was only a week ago that I was lambasting Orlando Sentinel columnist Andrea Adelson for her standard copy and paste article implicating Calipari in the Memphis NCAA allegations. This week, she has redeemed herself. See, that is the beauty of a blog. You can bash someone one week when they do something you don’t like and praise them when they do something you like. Praise is rare in the blogging universe but this week Andrea earned some praise from me, and no doubt a lot more hate emails than she got from Kentucky fans last week.

In her page 2 column in yesterday’s Sentinel, Andrea wrote an article headlined ” UF arrests no minor issue”. In it, she gives a fairly damning indictment of the number of troubled athletes on their program and the apparent indifference of local and national media to pick up on this.

“There is a serious problem going on with the Florida football team. Some Gators fans may choose to ignore it — or even justify it –but they should be embarrassed. They should be outraged. They should be demanding action instead of defensing the indefensible”. Adelson began her article.

She notes that the recent arrest of DB Janoris Jenkins makes 24 Gators arrested in the last four years. Of those, 18 were recruited by head coach Urban Meyer, the rest were Zook recruits. Adelson continues her attack: ” It is simply unacceptable for any program to have this many arrests, yet the public outcry has been muted. Perhaps its because the Gators have Tim Tebow as their public faces. Yes, we know he is a saint, but that does not excuse the sinners”.

Adelson made a comment wondering if Meyers was turning the Gators into the next “Thug U” and the research she said certainly does raise some eyebrows. According to numbers from the Department of Justice, the arrest rate among US citizens was about 4.7%. In Meyers four seasons as UF football coach, there were 239 players listed on the official rosters. During that time, there were 24 arrests, meaning the arrest rate for Gator players during this time was RIGHT AT 10%. Even though some of those charges were dropped, she asks if 10% of your friends have been arrested? I doubt many of us could claim that 10% of the people we knew had been arrested.

And things seem to be getting worse at UF. This year alone, UF has had 3 players get arrested, four if you count Torrey Davis who was arrested a few weeks after leaving the team. Adelson lists Florida rivals (and teams that Florida fans love to mock as being thuggush) Miami, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee have ZERO arrests combined in 2009.

A statement from UF AD Jeremy Foley was full of denial. It stated that no one works harder in this area than Urban, blah blah blah, and that Urban and his staff are the BEST at modifying behavior. Adelson did not that Meyer has yet to take any disciplinary action against Jenkins as of yet.

And finally, Adelson preaches to the choir: “Despite the numbers, the Gators haven’t taken a beating in the national media or from their fans. There are those who rationalize the arrests because the team is winning national championships. These fans are simply enabling the bad behavior”. Adelson concludes with a quote from ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack. “All universities have problems from time to time, but when you have this kind of lawlessness and most of it having to do with violence, you begin to ask certain questions and I think answers have to be forthcoming”.

In other words, Urban, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.

Couple this with the 9 players transferring from the UF basketball team since 2004 and the recent spate of decommitments and players going pro, and there is apparently something going on with the Gator’s hoops program as well. Could the common link be Foley? No one will ever know since no national columnist has the balls to do an in depth look.

Looking back over, I found just one article on the arrest of Jenkins and it was about his being tasered and arrested for fighting. The article does not mention the 24 arrests in 4 years or even the 3 arrests in this year alone. Now if you go to the college basketball section, UK’s coach Calipari is the subject of three to four articles implicating him in the Derrick Rose SAT situation. And proving that ESPN does have the ability to go back 3-4 years, Calipari is getting implicated in the story of a SAT test from 5 years ago.

It has to be mentioned that Calipari has ZERO NCAA violations on his resume, while Pat Forde booking writing buddy Rick Pitino has eight from his days as a Hawaii assistant. Pitino is currently involved in a federal extortion case and instead of giving both sides of the story, Forde has dismissed Karen Syphers side of the story and stayed mum, protecting his friend. Couple this with Memphis homer Gary Parrish (and Billy Donovan friend) Gary Parrish at CBS Sports and you see a lot of unwarranted negative articles attacking UK coming from “homers of UK’s rivals”.

As I have called it before, the national media have been engaging in a character assassination of John Calipari. Is it because that they know that UK stories (good or bad) mean an increase in traffic? Or are they too vested in their own vested interests and personal grudges to simply rep
ort the true story?

Adelson was right in one thing. It’s true that Tebow is consider a saint. But when are any talking heads at ESPN or national columnists going to grow a pair and expose the sinners?

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