August 13, 2017
Things just got easier for Michigan in its season opener.
The University of Florida announced Sunday it has suspended seven players from its football team for the Sept. 2 game against No. 9 Michigan, including top wide receiver Antonio Callaway.
“We have a small group of players that have made some choices that are extremely disappointing,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said in a news release.
“Action has been taken — they have missed some practice and will miss the Michigan game. We will use this as a learning opportunity and we will have some players step up as we move forward.”
Callaway, considered the Gators’ top playmaker on offense, caught 54 passes for a team-best 721 yards and three touchdowns in 2016.
He joins Florida offensive linemen Kadeem Telfort and Richerd Desir-Jones, linebackers James Houston and Ventrell Miller, and defensive linemen Jordan Smith and Keivonnis Davis, none of whom are projected starters.
The university has not specified a reason for the suspensions, but a report on Saturday said “several Florida football players” had been punished over the misuse of school funds.
According to The Read Optional, players were using school-issued debit cards to make expensive electronic purchases before selling them for cash. Florida discovered what was going on when the players went to the school claiming their cards had been stolen.
It’s unclear at this point if Callaway was involved, but he remained unpunished following a May citation in Gainesville for marijuana possession.
Callaway was also suspended from the Florida football team in April 2016 amid allegations of sexual battery. Those were later dropped, and Callaway reinstated, following a school-sponsored Title IX investigation in which he told committee members he was “so stoned I had no interest in having sex with anyone.”
The move is a blow for the No. 16-ranked Gators, who will now face Michigan without a key offensive target and depth along the lines.
The two teams will meet Sept. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.