Sharrif Floyd Ruled Ineligible: Reading Florida And NCAA Tea Leaves For Why

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was ruled ineligible moments before Saturday's game against Florida Atlantic. Here's Florida's official statement on that matter:

"We have declared Sharrif Floyd ineligible and he is not eligible to compete until his eligibility is reinstated the NCAA. We have been and will continue to work with the NCAA until this matter is resolved. This is an issue that is not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida. We will not have any additional comment on this matter until it is resolved."

There's a lot of tricky syntax at play here.

First, it's important to note that this is Florida saying that it declared Floyd ineligible, not the NCAA. I'm not sure I believe that on its face — Florida could be using "we" pretty loosely — but if Florida is making the eligibility call here, then that's probably good news.

If the NCAA is making the decision, though, Floyd could be in some serious trouble. Let's run down the three most likely scenarios.

Academics: Floyd could be academically ineligible to play this fall. This is probably the least likely of these three scenarios, because there's no way Florida wouldn't have known this before Saturday night and little reason for the NCAA to be involved. But it's possible, if improbable.

Failed NCAA drug test: We know that Floyd would have been internally and quietly disciplined if he had failed a drug test administered by Florida athletics. But failing an NCAA drug test — which can be a result of drug use from marijuana to banned supplements — is the sort of thing that requires NCAA involvement. If Floyd failed an NCAA drug test, he will almost certainly be ineligible for the entirety of the 2011 season.

Memorabilia: That carefully-worded "not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida" is both typical hind-covering talk ("Look, it's not the adults' fault!") and a clue that it might be a Floyd misdeed that got him his spot on the bench. Selling memorabilia — an Outback Bowl ring? — would fit between those lines, require NCAA involvement, and be just scandalous enough to keep under wraps.

Got any theories I didn't cover?

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