Florida coach Will Muschamp announced via Twitter that Janoris Jenkins is no longer part of the team today, a move that stems from Jenkins getting popped for marijuana twice in three months.
Now, it's unclear whether Muschamp really kicked Jenkins off the team or if Jenkins decided to leave rather than face suspension and other punishments. A UF spokesman simply said they both agreed to move on, which could mean just about anything. In my mind, if Muschamp didn't try to keep him, he made a mistake.
What would Muschamp really gain by kicking Jenkins off the team? He's the best player -- one of the only proven guys on the squad -- and would be especially valuable in what could easily be a rough season. Does it send a message to the rest of the team that they better behave? Yes. Will they? Come on. Will Coach BOOM start truly recruiting the "top 1% of 1%" that Urban Meyer used to talk about? If he wants to lose games, sure.
This is a sport that does not fall in line with the usual moral code of life, and I see no reason to treat it as if it does. Suspending Jenkins for 2-6 games, making him do community service and all kinds of physical penance would still send a message to Jenkins and the rest of the team, he'd be in tip-top shape, the Gators would have their best player, and hell, he might even learn something.
Instead, he's gone, and Florida is facing a likely 2007-ish cornerback duo of Jeremy Brown and Cody Riggs, with Moses Jenkins, Jaylen Watkins, Josh Shaw and De'Ante Saunders the other competitors. I like Brown, Riggs and Moses a lot, both as people and players, but I can't imagine them getting close to as solid as a pairing of Janoris and any one of them.
So, what is gained? If only for a moment, the Gators' reputation as The New Thug U may go away. There's a new sheriff in town, and he's ready to get everyone in line. But do you really care? Would you rather people poke fun at your team for arrests while they win titles, or would you rather be praised as a more wholesome, 8-4 program? I wouldn't be on this soapbox if I thought college football or Florida was really going to change. Since I don't (neither ever has), I'm going to keep preaching my rule-breaking philosophy.
All in all though, I have to admit this isn't a bad time for Muschamp to put his foot down. I don't see Florida as a serious challenger for the SEC this year, so if you want to make a statement, do it in a season where you already have a grace period and don't have much to lose.
For Jenkins, the next move is likely the NFL's supplemental draft -- assuming the league can stay lockout-free -- but he could also move to a lower-division school if he feels he can pump up his draft stock that way. I seriously doubt he elects to sit out a year at another D-1 school to play his final season. As I understand it, the supplemental draft works like this: Teams submit bids of what round they would take the player in, and if Team A says second round while Team B says third, Team A gets the player and loses their second-round pick in the next year's draft. It's a bit more complicated than that, but there's the general idea.
How do you feel about this? Looking at yesterday's poll, the majority of you said you'd kick him off the team, though that came via a very late surge, which is suspicious to me. If Jenkins goes in the supplemental draft, would you want your team to take him? I sure as hell would. Because he's good at football and isn't violent or crazy.