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Carlos Dunlap Suspension Ends; Poor Precedent Set By University

From the Orlando Sentinel (HT:Timmy C.)

Urban Meyer said Dunlap, who just started to work out with his teammates again, must "take care of his (business)" before the game. President Bernie Machen and Athletics Director Jeremy Foley were involved in the decision to bring Dunlap back..."There was a lot of discussion," Meyer said. "It's case-by-case. If there was another issue, there'd be an issue. But there hasn't been. The administration let me know."

The influence of the administration is interesting and troubling. In one sense, it shows how far up the chain this went. However, Machen has ruined lives by kicking kids out for a semester for doing things just as bad as Dunlap. I understand Meyer's comment that this is "case-by-case" but usually the case is to teach the kid a lesson and send him home. That is why UF pitcher Stephen Locke was kicked off the team before the State Attorney investigated and charges were dropped. (Note that 2 of 5 punishments for an alcohol violation remove a student from campus.) I guess it is possible that Dunlap's suspension was ended because he or UF has learned that the State Attorney will soon end their investigation with dropped charges.

I do not fault Meyer for ending the suspension, since his job is to get kids on the field not worry about an alcohol policy. (Of course, Florida rivals will say this is an example of Meyer running a lawless program, but they'd say the same if Dunlap played next season too.) If Machen's influence ended the suspension, and does not extend to students caught in the same situation, Machen has created a problem for the University. Unless Machen now changes the alcohol policy at Florida, he has set a clear line between athletes and students. I have no problem with athletes having access to more tutors or better dining facilities and gyms, since they make millions for the school. But I do have a problem when they are punished differently than students for breaking University rules.