September 20th, 2011 11:48am

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.

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  1. September 20th, 2011 12:15 pm

    Good job jeff – what’s the latest with the “Bullkins”?

    by kyle

  2. September 20th, 2011 12:37 pm

    Great article. Muschamp is the real deal and his players know it! These recruits are beginning to find that out also.

    by Sean

  3. September 20th, 2011 12:54 pm

    “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!

    by dan avanacio

  4. September 20th, 2011 1:05 pm

    Very moving… i’m glad to see Muschamp has such a big heart. Unlike you, Jeff. Unlike you.

    by Ricky Barlis (no relation)

  5. September 20th, 2011 1:05 pm

    Great article. Lot of character shown by Muschamp and Floyd.

    It’s interesting to think of this in relation to “The Blind Side” – the Michael Oher story.

    Go Gators.

    by Roy

  6. September 20th, 2011 1:11 pm

    When is comes to integrity in recruiting, I think you could say that Will Muschamp is the “Anti-Kiffin”

    by Texas Gator

  7. September 20th, 2011 1:24 pm

    haha if floyd is all american when he’s done and a first rounder they make somwething like the the blind side only about DT’s

    by travis

  8. September 20th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Muschamp needs work as a DB coach, but good job with the NCAA statement

    by Joe Knows

  9. September 20th, 2011 1:30 pm

    Go Gators!

    by Gator79

  10. September 20th, 2011 1:45 pm

    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….

    by bob

  11. September 20th, 2011 1:54 pm

    IGTBAG! (It’s Great To Be A Gator!).

    by quickenedspirit

  12. September 20th, 2011 2:06 pm

    If I am a UF prospect there is no question where I belong!!! I dont see many coaches standing behind their players like that these days.

    by cdmgator68

  13. September 20th, 2011 2:13 pm

    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.

    by Ditch Gator

  14. September 20th, 2011 2:14 pm

    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.

    by CC Rider

  15. September 20th, 2011 2:23 pm

    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.

    by BSJGator

  16. September 20th, 2011 2:25 pm

    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.

    by Lake Mary Gator

  17. September 20th, 2011 2:27 pm

    I think this staff is great!

    by npgator

  18. September 20th, 2011 3:10 pm

    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.

    by roger

  19. September 20th, 2011 3:21 pm

    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!

    by roger

  20. September 20th, 2011 3:23 pm


    WTF does that comment have to do with this story?

    I like where the direction in which the program is headed. STFU with anything negative!

    by Albert D Alligator

  21. September 20th, 2011 3:25 pm

    Roger = TROLL

    by GatorsEverywhere

  22. September 20th, 2011 3:30 pm


    by Alicia

  23. September 20th, 2011 3:30 pm

    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.

    by 1974gator

  24. September 20th, 2011 3:38 pm

    I think Brantley is doing well considering the changes he has had to make a QB. He will only get better. I’m happy with what I see. GO GATORS!

    by Alicia

  25. September 20th, 2011 3:39 pm

    anyway great article. lol! Bring in those Recruits Coach!

    by Alicia

  26. September 20th, 2011 4:37 pm

    I love Coach Muschamp!

    by Gator Chomp

  27. September 20th, 2011 5:08 pm

    We will clean house in recruiting next yr and for many yrs to come. Florida will be on top for a long long time and coach Boom will be highly successfull! Go Gators!

    by Dan Dixon

  28. September 20th, 2011 5:53 pm

    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.

    by Mark T.

  29. September 20th, 2011 6:01 pm

    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.

    by sheriff

  30. September 20th, 2011 6:50 pm

    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!!!

    by Gator Ed

  31. September 20th, 2011 8:16 pm

    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.

    by tojebe

  32. September 20th, 2011 9:06 pm

    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!

    by Jax Gator

  33. September 20th, 2011 10:17 pm

    @ 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!

    by John Curtis

  34. September 20th, 2011 10:31 pm

    Proud of Muschamp, but I expect he will or has already been sanctioned for his comments. Interested in hearing how the NCAA follows up.

    by John

  35. September 21st, 2011 8:08 am

    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?!)

    by Tallahassee Gator

  36. September 21st, 2011 8:41 am

    Too bad Jeff didn’t talk to a single recruit to find out if Muschamp’s rant really impressed them. All Jeff did was to interview CURRENT players.

    by Joe

  37. September 21st, 2011 9:00 am

    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!

    by Just the facts

  38. September 21st, 2011 9:01 am

    Great job by Muschamp! Outstanding! Urban would have done the same.

    by QOP Gator

  39. September 21st, 2011 11:25 am

    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.

    by Andrew

  40. September 21st, 2011 2:38 pm

    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.

    by gatorsrn1

  41. September 21st, 2011 4:01 pm


    Why do you wait until the very end of the day for all of your Outbox(es) to be posted?

    by GatorsEverywhere

  42. September 22nd, 2011 7:59 am

    We could not have gotten a more classy coach who represents what’s great about college sports! Class act is what Coach is…

    by Keith Pearce

  43. September 24th, 2011 8:19 am

    I loved it how coach stuck it to those self righteous Pharisees, the NCAA.

    by JD

  44. September 27th, 2011 8:09 pm



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