Phillips denied, Fowler accepted, Bullard in limbo

By Adam Silverstein
July 2, 2012

Four-star incoming defensive tackle Dante Phillips (Venice, FL), a prominent member of the Florida Gators 2012 signing class, has been denied admission to the University of Florida and will no longer join the team.

The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu, who first reported the story Monday after speaking with Phillips’s stepfather Damon Wilson, notes that the decision is being appealed but Phillips does not expect to win and is now looking to play elsewhere.

“We were kind of blindsided,” Wilson told the Sun. “He did everything he needed to do to be cleared by the [NCAA] Clearinghouse, but now he’s been told he doesn’t have a scholarship to Florida. He’s been cleared by the NCAA. He’s academically eligible. But the admissions office says he can’t enroll at Florida.”’s Bryan Holt spoke with Phillips, who said both Miami and Ole Miss believe they can get him admitted since he has been cleared by the NCAA but did not meet UF’s admission standards.

Phillips, who committed to the Gators back on Oct. 25, 2010, was ranked as the No. 120 player in the nation and No. 9 at his position by Rivals as well as the No. 110 player in the country and No. 12 at his position by ESPNU.

UPDATED (5 p.m.): Unfortunately for Florida, he is not the only 2012 commitment whose academic standing is currently in question. Five-stars Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. (St. Petersburg, FL) and defensive end Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, NC) – two of the team’s three top-ranked recruits in the last cycle – are also having admissions issues though one of those was officially resolved on Monday.

Fowler was told that he would be admitted to UF as soon as official word came down from the NCAA that he had qualified. He had achieved the grades he needed to and learned Monday via a phone call from head coach Will Muschamp that he is good to go, according to Holt. Fowler will be on campus to enroll Tuesday.

Bullard’s situation remains in question and his status is not public at this time.


  1. Che Grandly says:

    Man didn’t need this. Please, please, please I hope we get Fowler and Bullard in. We need them like nobody’s business

  2. Crock says:

    Can someone explain this to me?
    How can they deny him entry when he met the requirements?

    • It’s one thing to hit NCAA qualifications and another to hit Florida’s requirements, which are higher.

      • Crock says:

        These types of kids have been let in in the past. I’m sure if Urb was still here they would all be accepted into UF

        • The other two probably still will be. Other players have been denied admission before – Dee Finely for example.

        • Jam Dog says:

          I would rather have a program with integrity than Urban’s mentality of letting talent get in the way of making judgements on character, grades, drug tests, etc…

          • Crock says:

            Not letting a kid in even though he was cleared by the NCAA is having “integrity”? It isn’t like he was arrested.

            If you really want the team to have integrity then only let the players in who could get accepted into Florida on their own merits. Then when Vandy is beating us by 50 you can sit back and smile because your players have “integrity”

          • @Crock says:

            Well don’t complain about Saban or other SEC Recruiting seediness.

          • Crock says:

            Seediness as in???

            I don’t usually complain, but if you are talking about oversigning I don’t see how that is similar to letting someone in who qualified.

  3. John S says:

    This could be disastrous. I wish this would have been settled well in advance. Crossed fingers for just some depth at D line.

  4. Sroode21 says:

    No grades no play.. This isn’t the U or FSU

    • Crock says:

      Yes it is. Let’s not try and act high and mighty

      • ziggy says:

        No, it’s not the U or FSU. UF is high and mighty when it comes to academics vs. these schools or any other public institution. That is why UF is considered one of the few public “ivey league” schools in the country. When it comes to athletics, well I think they speak for themselves.

        • Crock says:

          You are talking about overall academics. I am talking about our athletes academics.

          Are you opposed to taking in kids who can’t get in on their own merits?

          • El Meester says:

            Sure, athletes at UF and any other school have some different requirements to get in. And no, they don’t have to be exactly what the NCAA requirements are. It sounds like Phillips didn’t meet the UF requirement. What’s your problem?

          • Crock says:

            We let Will Hill in! Let’s not act like we are only taking scholars here.
            I can just see the situation for what it is. If you are going to let in kids who wouldn’t otherwise be admitted then don’t try and play the “honorable university”, “I’m glad we have standards”, “We won’t do what it takes to win at all costs” card. If a kid qualifies take him or else only take kids that would have gotten accepted on their own academic merits.

    • Tractorr says:

      Don’t look now but da U is now actually ranked higher than UF for academics.

  5. g8ter27 says:

    Not sure how Ole Miss thinks they can get him in. From what I understand, their admission standards were pretty high as well.

  6. Jon says:

    this is going to turn us into Notre Dame

    • ziggy says:

      No, I think referring to the Messiah as “Touchdown Jesus” turned Notre Dame into Notre Dame.

  7. MAR says:

    I like UFs requirements. All they have to do is apply themselves and they will qualify. If you cannot study when you are being offered a scholarship at UF, a great chance to become the best athlete you can be, and good odds at playing at the next level, then I don’t want them as a Gator. They would make good Seminoles or Bulldogs. If you want to be a Gator, open your books and read!

  8. Bog8r says:

    Its my understanding that Phillips and his family were told what he needed to accomplish in the last semester to qualify and he did not achieve the grades necessary to get the GPA needed.

  9. chigator says:

    Look, this is a university not a semi-pro team. You want a team devoid of scholarship, go watch a pro team like the Jaguar, they need the fans. I have a lot of friends who worked their butt off to get into UF, which is by far the best university in the state. If the school simply lets anyone who can play football into the school then it’s an insult to rest of the student body. Let’s applaud the administration for having some standards. The truth is that true student-athletes and a successful athletic department are NOT mutually exclusive.

    Anyone who criticizes the school for not letting a few recruits in for low grades aught to re-evaluate their priorities; we don’t need to win at any cost, UF is better than that.

    • Crock says:

      I guess Steve Spurrier needs to re-evalute his priorities. I’m guessing Muschamp feels the same way

      • chigator says:

        I love SOS but when the football coach starts calling the shots on academic concerns is when institutions invite compliance issues. I am really sorry that you feel the way you do, but the reality is that no one recruit has ever made (or should ever make) a championship team, The Swamp will not collapse tomorrow just because we showed a few recruits the door.

        When you relax standards for star recruits you invite the entitlement issues that have plagued this team for too long.

  10. Trey Gator says:

    I don’t understand how Miami is in contention. They have actually surpassed UF as Florida’s top academic institution in the rankings and have the same admission criteria for regular students. Donna Shalala and the current administration aren’t extra supportive of the athletics. Interesting to see if he ends up there.

  11. Crock says:

    LOL saw this posted elsewhere

    “I know I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a Gator!
    I’m glad UF doesn’t have a win at all costs mentality. Dante Phillips being admitted would have ruined my universities academic reputation. At UF we have STANDARDS. If you want to go to a low class university who would let any Tom, Dick, or Harry in then try Alabama. I’m glad UF football players aren’t just dumb jocks. Past greats like Will Hill, Ronnie Wilson, and Taurean Charles really embody the term “Student-Athlete”. Thank You UF Admissions offer for standing up for what is right!”

    • chigator says:

      I like how your argument is based upon:
      a) past precedent. I guess UF isn’t allowed to clean up their act and avoid past mistakes. Even by your Will Hill example, you highlight the fact that he should have been denied.
      b) that somehow being better than the minimum standards is going to cost us. Again, there is nothing that says that winning and academic standards are mutually exclusive. At a place like UF, we should be able to achieve both.
      c) that we can’t be better, that somehow suggesting to do so is selling out. Our past is the past, let’s hope that university wants more from the football team on and off the field. Remember that some of our best players were also some of our best students, and the opposite is almost always true.

      • Crock says:

        Except my argument isn’t about any of those things because this isn’t a new policy. At least not to my knowledge.

      • El Meester says:

        I like how Will Hill randomly got thrown into this, as if Crock knows what his grades were. Or Phillips. Or anybodys.

  12. Joe says:

    Its not a white and black situation, there is a gray area and every school is a different shade of gray in this situation. That’s what makes each establishment unique.

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