Gators adopt “if one falls, all fall” mentality

By Adam Silverstein
June 15, 2010

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer is looking to put a stop to the seemingly never-ending black eyes being placed on his program with each subsequent arrest of a University of Florida football player. With 28 legal issues under his tenure to-date, Meyer and his coaches held an emergency meeting with the players on Monday, a source close to the team told OGGOA.

The coaching staff took turns verbally lambasting the team and letting it be known how, more than ever, accountability and responsibility were important to the program this offseason. Then, as former Florida football player Brady Ackerman first disclosed via Twitter on Monday, they stressed that – from this point going forward – the team would be held accountable as a group for any individual missteps.

As OGGOA‘s source put it, the Gators are adopting an “if one falls, all fall” mentality that was taught in practical application immediately after the impassioned meeting.

Director of strength and conditioning Mickey Mariotti, who leads the players during the summer when coaches cannot run practices, worked the team hard with a number of extensive drills (including “stadiums” and “snakes”) Monday evening. The tough workout was just the beginning of an indefinite period of disciplinary action, according to the source. The players were already enraged and none-to-happy with their teammate’s actions after the meeting, and the point appeared to be hammered in with gusto.

Meyer, who makes all punishment-related decisions alongside athletic director Jeremy Foley and school president Bernie Machen, may use redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr.‘s DUI arrest to set an example for the rest of the team.

Ackerman said late Monday that he was “hearing Hammond will be dismissed from the Florida football team,” but Meyer could be putting him on a probationary period similar to what Oregon did with running back LeGarrette Blount last season.

Then again, if Meyer decides to stay consistent with his punishment and treat this like similar situations in the past, the school will likely wait until the legal process has run its course before making a final decision on Hammond’s future.

For what it’s worth, OGGOA‘s source called Hammond a “good kid who has done everything right up until this point.” His grades are high, his behavior was consummate with what the team expected and he also completed plenty of community service work.

Hammond has already been placed on an indefinite suspension from team activities.


  1. Daniel M. says:

    For what it’s worth, OGGOA’s source called Hammond a “good kid who has done everything right up until this point.” His grades are high, his behavior was consummate with what the team expected and he also drives around campus with open Whiskey bottles in his car.

    Make him clean out his locker in front of him teammates. That will have a far more reaching effect than 1,000 snakes and stadiums. ENOUGH !

  2. Mr2Bits says:

    Betting the team has a few kind words waiting for Frankie when they see him

  3. SaraGator says:

    The team will take care of him. Just like the military.

    It’s about time, Urban…

  4. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I like the concept to a certain extent…I guess the risk is resentment and it possibly causing divides in the locker room if that resentment goes too far…I still think the individual punishment needs to be severe

  5. O-town Gator says:

    Maybe now our guys will realize the answer is “YES” to the question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” I’m no fan of guilt by association, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Coach Meyer really has no other choice at this juncture in dealing with all the disciplinary issues he’s faced every year. Frankie Hammond’s DUI was pretty much the straw that broke the camel’s back, but yes, enough is enough. Instead of our guys coming down hard on him, I would rather see them doing all they can to support their teammate – and each other – to start doing what’s expected and conducting themselves the right way off the field.

  6. JW says:

    I, too, like the “punish the team” concept. At this point, it seems like the only option. However, I would hate to see Hammond dismissed from the team for a first time offense. While his actions were incredibly stupid, and while he’s lucky his crime did not have lethal consequences, it wasn’t a violent crime. I think you can send a strong message by suspending this kid 4-6 games. I’d even be in favor of suspending him for the season, while letting him practice with the team.

  7. ReptilesRule says:

    Here would be my rule…felony, you’re done…if you get arrested for a non felony, pack your bags for the season. Your scholarship is revoked for that year and then you will be given a (difficult) path to get back on the team with the final approval of the team. We will see exactly how remorseful you are for your actions and how much you want and are willing to work to remain a member of this team. If you choose to go the easier route and transfer, here is the list of teams you can go to (non SEC conference, no future opponents). We will assist you in anyway we can. Best of luck.

  8. ReptilesRule says:

    Just a quick comment about my previous post…May seem harsh but I believe Urban is DONE DONE DONE with this type of behavior. You KNOW Jeremy Foley is. I’m sure he would rather be thinking good thoughts about the baseball teams trip to Omaha than to be dealing with this crap. Second chances have been tried, teamwork has been tried. Emphasis up the ying yang has been tried. Screaming has been tried. Bottom line, it hasn’t worked. Ultimately, it’s not on the coaches or your parents or on your teammates…it’s on YOU. And it is YOU who will dictate your behavior and either your rewards or your punishments.

  9. You can’t just kick every player who is arrested for a misdemeanor off the team for a year . There are so many potential laws to be broken and so many ways incidents can be misconstrued that you cannot place a blanket policy around that. I don’t think there are any questions in regards to a felony conviction – obviously that person is off the team, but misdemeanors are a different animal.

    I’ll have a few more tidbits coming up later.

  10. O-town Gator says:

    Like I said last night on Gator Envy, one thing Meyer sticks to his guns on is reinforcing the team’s core values; commit one of those sins and you no longer wear Gator Orange and Blue – Jamar Hornsby and Jacques Rickerson are perfect examples of that.

    Seeing that Frankie Hammond was pretty much doing what was expected before he decided to get stupid this past weekend, I also don’t see Meyer telling him to hit the highway. He’ll likely face a set period of suspension, but I don’t seeing him getting as lenient a punishment as Carlos Dunlap got last year.

  11. ReptilesRule says:

    Adam, I respectfully disagree. There are clauses in your scholarship regarding actions and behavior detriment to the University. It would be very interesting if you could secure a copy of the scholarship papers that these guys have to sign. Heck, some people (like Nick Saban) don’t even seem to need a reason to rescind a scholarship. Sounds a little to me like you are suggesting that the present policy should remain consistant with the past. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same things over and over and over but expecting different results???

  12. That’s not what I’m suggesting…you are putting words in my mouth. What I am saying, specifically, is that you cannot place a blanket policy around a general category of “misdemeanors” that, if one commits one, they are suspended for an entire season. Just like in the real world, every situation, every player, every occurrence, everything that happens is unique.

    For example…are you going to give the same punishment to a kid who gets a misdemeanor DUI as you are someone who gets a misdemeanor traffic violation for going too fast on the highway? Are you going to treat a misdemeanor assault with the same punishment you would a misdemeanor for underage consumption of alcohol? (Please realize, EVERY college student [for the most part] engages in the latter on a weekly basis.)

    And then what about an infraction, summary offense or petty crime? If you are suspending an entire season for every single misdemeanor, what is the punishment for a traffic ticket or a non-violent civil disagreement?

    Aside from felonies, every situation has to be treated individually. And, for the most part, UF does not hand down any punishment aside from “indefinite suspension” until something is decided legally one way or another.

    Done discussing this.

    (All of the above are rhetorical questions.)

  13. Charles says:

    ReptilesRule, I don’t think you can control where a player goes after he is released from his scholarship. It’s a nice theory, but in truth not a reality.
    I can see a university saying that they won’t release you if you plan on going to such and such university, but what univeristy is going to pay for a kid to go to school who is not playing just so they won’t go to another? Once they release you they get no say in what happens to you. You are now subject to the rules of the NCAA not the university.

    (Question above is rhetorical as well.)

  14. ReptilesRule says:

    Adam, again, I am talking about arrests, not a traffic violations or parking tickets. And yes, there could be extinuating circumstances…like a false arrest, mistaken identity etc. I’m not just saying to just throw them off the team or suspend them on the spot. But if it is a legitimate misdemeanor arrest…he must sit. And Charles, yes a school can specify schools a player may or may not go to if he wants to make a seemless transition after sitting a year. The QB from Miami that just transfered last year, Robert Marve, but was considering UF and South Florida comes to mind.

  15. Reptiles, you can be arrested for a number of traffic violations that are misdemeanors and not DUI. Nevertheless, a school can’t – and won’t – use a blanket policy to cover misdemeanor arrests – not every infraction deserves a full year out like you suggested. The level of severity for every individual action is different and should be treated accordingly. I really do not with to further discuss this with you anymore as I am simply repeating myself at this point and it is apparently not getting through to you.

    Additionally, there are differences between being kicked off of a team and getting a conditional release. Marve got the latter, not the former.

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