Cornerback J.C. Jackson will not be permitted to return to Florida "because of a decision made by the University Athletic Association," though a charge of armed robbery against him is "expected to be dropped," Scout's Florida site reports in an unbylined post published Saturday night.
The felony charge for armed robbery against J.C. Jackson is expected to be dropped this week, but he will not be allowed to return to the Florida team because of a decision made by the University Athletic Association, Fightin’ Gators has learned. A meeting with university officials and Jackson this past week was going to allow him to return to classes Monday assuming the felony charges were cleared.
Jackson was arrested on charges of armed robbery in April, was reportedly uncooperative with police after his arrest, and pleaded not guilty four days after his arrest, after eventually posting bail and retaining counsel — but not Gainesville attorney Huntley Johnson, customarily Florida football players' legal eagle of choice.
Updates, Tuesday, 12:45 p.m.: Inside the Gators, Rivals's Florida site, reported ($) Sunday that Jackson had chosen to transfer after being told he would not be allowed to be on scholarship with pending felony charges, and updated its reporting on Monday to note that Jackson was given permission to enroll in Florida's Summer A term (which began Monday) on the condition that charges were going to be dropped, only for the UAA to step in once they were not dropped.
And The Gainesville Sun's Robbie Andreu reported on Tuesday that Jackson is not enrolled in Summer A classes, and that the case against him is moving forward, with sources telling him that charges being dropped "is not imminent at this time."
Jackson could face serious prison time — producing a firearm during the commission of a forcible felony carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in Florida, under the "10-20-Life" statute, though Jackson is not alleged to have personally done so — for his role in the crime. Scout's report that the charge against Jackson is expected to be dropped (though Jackson was charged with three counts of armed robbery) is the first report on the progress from the case in weeks.
Jackson had also previously been involved in two public incidents, neither resulting in any public repercussions: Jackson was in a car with teammates Treon Harris and Jalen Tabor during a December incident in which Harris was cited for driving without a license and the smell of weed emanated from the vehicle, he was shot while in his hometown of Immokalee over winter break in late December.
To be clear: I don't and didn't think there is or was anything truly troubling about Jackson being in a car that smelled of weed, nor do I or did I think Jackson getting shot is or was something to fault him for, except in the context of the company he keeps. But three incidents like this in the span of five months is an aggregate that promps valid concern, and I thought anything but exoneration in his armed robbery would almost certainly result in Jackson's dismissal.
Coming down on Jackson now does, certainly, feel somewhat premature, and a de facto dismissal with charges dropped would be a strange decision. And so I think this decision by the UAA smells strongly of Florida's administration knowing more than the public does, and I suspect there may well be further details that could come to light and make it make more sense.
I don't think Florida would revoke the scholarship of a student-athlete — which is basically what this decision seems to be — without good reason for doing so, but I also don't think Florida is likely to let a preponderance of poor decisions go totally unchecked.
And, lest we forget, Florida dismissed Gerald Willis, never charged with a crime in Gainesville, in January, after what was reported as another "altercation" with a teammate.
Florida's current standards for behavior are not low, it would seem. And it would also seem that Jackson has failed to meet them.