For the uninitiated: The University of Florida has two different Student Government Elections each year, one in the fall semester and one in the spring. They've been essentially two-party races for much of my time at UF, with a fraternity/sorority majority party — Gator or Swamp in some years; this year, Unite — dominating all facets of SG and a vocal minority party — variously Pants, Orange and Blue, Progress, and, yes, Unite in recent years, but Students this year — trying to be as nettlesome to the majority as possible.
I won't get into much beyond that basic outline in terms of the politics of the elections (I'm going to vote Students, not that you care), but it's important for the purposes of this story to know that Students is the minority party — and that it's exceedingly rare for a coach to get involved in SG, like Will Muschamp did on Monday when he endorsed walk-on Jesse Schmitt, a Students Party candidate for Vice President.
Schmitt, who we've covered here before, is, by all accounts, the kind of driven, caring, pragmatic candidate for office that I'm going to be proud to vote for. But Muschamp is on an island in supporting him, both because a) football players typically are not running for office (Schmitt told The Independent Florida Alligator that the last Florida football player to be elected to executive was Terry Jackson in 1998; this PDF of results shows that Al Horford, Brandon Siler, David Nelson, and Matt LaPorta were among players who ran for office but were not elected in 2006), b) it's so rare for a coach to endorse a player for SG that this is the first I've heard of it happening, and c) one would assume that football players would more frequently side with the power brokers in the majority party.
Instead, Schmitt's on the side that's almost assuredly going to be the losing one — the Greek parties have long
conscripted mobilized the many pledges in their houses to flood campus with volunteers and hit the polls en masse, giving them the ground game needed to win elections — and Muschamp's endorsement is the sort of thing that might give the average student a reason to vote Students beyond being sick and tired of Unite's persistent flyering, like Cody Riggs said he was in a tweet. (Might it also be enough to compel some Unite Party members to toss out hundreds of copies of the Alligator? Perhaps; you should read the Alligator's editorial on the matter, in any case.)
But if Muschamp's endorsement is odd, Trey Burton's is both strange and quintessentially Trey.
The Students Party, in lieu of straightforward endorsements, tried to go viral with a funny campaign video. I think they sort of succeeded with this video, which features cats, Trey Burton, linebacker Graham Stewart (who exists!) terrorizing Schmitt, and far more laughs than typical UF political speech.
That's all well and good, though I was surprised to see Burton in the video; I assumed he was far more likely to be a Unite friend and voter.
As it turns out, he is.
Beyond the transparently bad "Athletes Vote Unite" title and the dumb idea to have athletes read lifeless endorsements of Unite, there's nothing bad about this video, and it features Erving Walker speaking Brooklynese, which is always great. But Burton appearing in both parties' videos is about the funniest/most frustrating thing in the history of athletes and fence-sitting since "Republicans buy sneakers, too."
If you're a UF student, I encourage you to do some research on both parties (I recommend all of the Alligator's news coverage) and vote; you've got this Tuesday and Wednesday to do so and a bunch of polling places ready to take your vote. Just remember: There's only one party with a walk-on so devoted to football that he got an endorsement from Will Muschamp for his efforts on the ticket, and you can't avoid voting for a candidate Trey Burton supports.