Florida Closes Practice, Opens Name-calling

So I’m sitting here on Sunday, wondering what to write as the newly-hired guy here at the cafeteria. I was going to bemoan the lack of newsworthy stuff in college football when I noticed this little gem. Time to analyze…

So Pope Urban (so named due to his once-close proximity to St. Timmy of Gainesville) closed off the Florida Swap Lizards’ practices, eh? According to this ESPN article, the Gators closed their practice to protect the team from “internet people” and “scumbags.” As an Internet person and a scumbag, I take offense to this. Florida football players don’t need protection from me. If it’s anything like high school, then it should be the other way around.

OK, OK, OK. I know what Urban meant. He was trying to “protect” his players from people who grab autographs solely to sell them. Noble, I guess, but it’s not like they can control kids’ lives 24/7. Mind you, according to Urban, they’re doing their darndest: “‘We can’t live the players’ lives, but we can certainly do the best we can,’ he told the newspaper. ‘You should have the right as a player to walk from here to there without being bothered.'”

*Sigh* Urban, do you really think that in today’s sports-addicted world, that it’s possible for a college student at a big-name school to go anywhere without some sort of harassment? I’m not saying it’s right, I’m merely saying that protecting college students from publicity hounds is something of a lost cause. Oh, and Urban apparently thinks that he’s protecting these guys from unscrupulous agents and their runners. See, the problem with that theory is this: Do you think that agents give their “clients” wads of illicit cash at practice? If so, please, please inform these people that they are the worst illegal agents in the world. One of Florida’s former players, Maurkice Pouncey, is currently facing charges that he accepted somewhere around $100,000 in illegal funds. So maybe Urban’s less concerned with the “internet people” carousing around and more concerned with covering his own backside.

Why the cynical outlook, you ask? Well, you see, children, with St. Timmy gone, it’s time for Urban to close ranks and do his best to keep the news coming out of Florida positive. Tim Tebow is a stand-up individual. I have absolutely no desire to decry and denounce him, nor do I have some weird desire to see him crumble and fall at the professional level. He did, however, provide the Florida felons with a super-convenient front. You see, under Urban Meyer, 22 Florida football players have been arrested for various crimes. Now, as far as I’m concerned, if the violations at Southern Cal were worthy of a 2 year postseason ban (they were), then having 22 of your players (some of them quite high brow) arrested for actual crimes against other people is grounds for a firing. In short, without the golden boy of college football to keep the press cameras pointed away from the swampy underbelly of the Gators, look for Florida to be one heck of a lot more closed off from the national media. Oh, well. At least the season starts soon and the general public can go back to ignoring crimes committed by players and back to focusing on the gridiron. Not that that’s acceptable, but let’s save the cultural commentary for later, shall we?