Florida’s chances to knock off Michigan in the Cowboys Kickoff Classic on Saturday look even slimmer following the announcement that two more players, including the Gators top returning rusher, have been suspended for the contest.
Jim McElwain announced Wednesday that running back Jordan Scarlett and wide receiver Rick Wells have been suspended from all team activities, bringing the number of suspended Gators for the season opener against Michigan to 10.
McElwain announced earlier this month that wide receiver James Robinson was also suspended for the opener after a marijuana citation. Both Scarlett and Wells were also involved in the same alleged “debit card scam” that led to the suspensions of Antonio Callaway and six others, according to the Associated Press.
According to 247Sports, the players bought electronics with funds meant to be used for school — a practice not uncommon among student-athletes — but then allegedly sold the electronics and told UF their cards had been stolen or lost.
If both players were in fact involved, this scam has cost Florida more than 10 percent of its scholarship players prior to the biggest season opener in recent memory, including the top running back and top wide receiver. The Gators have other running backs, like Lamical Perine, and other wide receivers, like Tyrie Cleveland, that will be called upon to carry a heavier load, but it has to be frustrating for McElwain to lose nine players because of an alleged scam.
“We have a small group of players that have made some choices that are extremely disappointing. 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,” McElwain said in a statement after the first group of suspensions was announced.