Florida quarterback Will Grier is currently set to miss both the remainder of the 2015 season and the first six games of the Gators' 2016 campaign. But rumors have popped up on message boards that Florida is optimistic about its chances of Grier's appeal to the NCAA for a suspension that only runs to the end of the 2015 season, and now Gridiron Now is reporting the same./
Insiders tell GN that Florida has had preliminary discussions with the NCAA and that school officials feel relatively good that Will Grier will win his appeal and be eligible at the beginning of the 2016 season.
Monday, UF announced that Grier had been suspended for a year because he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug. There is basically zero chance he returns this season, but the hope at Florida is that he will be allowed to compete for the entirety of next season. As it is, he would be allowed to return for Game 7 next fall.
While "feel relatively good" and "the hope" don't really go very far for me — especially on an unbylined post, and especially with "Florida" and "insiders" being the sources here — I've also seen this line of thinking floating from credible message boarders. What it's based on is beyond me; I'd guess Florida has faith in its ability to show Grier's positive test is the result of an honest mistake, because Grier's honesty and contrition alone are likely not worth clemency from the NCAA, but I have no sources on that.
I'm also no expert on NCAA-issued suspensions, but I've never heard of one getting successfully overturned or shortened. And, as the Orlando Sentinel's Matt Murschel wrote earlier this week, the appeals process can be as labyrinthine as the testing process itself; it is unlikely we'll hear anything definitive on Grier until the NCAA and/or Florida has a final result to announce.
So, basically, I'm leery of these reports.
But, that said: There's too much quiet chatter about Florida's confidence for me to ignore it, or dismiss it as merely wishful thinking. While Florida is clearly displeased with the NCAA's ruling on this case, hence the appeal, I can't imagine the program leaking false hints of confidence as a means of either stoking its fan base or thumbing its eye at the NCAA. That's just not what the Gators have done under Jeremy Foley.
And while Grier, Florida, and Gators fans are all set to play the waiting game on his appeal, it does feel slightly better to be playing it with hope flickering.