Florida running back Mark Thompson has been suspended for Saturday’s matchup with Georgia in Jacksonville, Florida announced via its team Twitter account on Friday.
Mark Thompson will not be making the trip to Jacksonville due to some choices and decisions he's made. #Gators— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) October 28, 2016
That lack of specificity on what Thompson did to get suspended was likely to fuel speculation about and investigation into what is behind his suspension.
Update, 1:45 p.m.: Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel reports that Thompson was cited for marijuana possession on Florida’s campus early Thursday morning after being pulled over for running a stop sign. The University of Florida Police Department crime log suggests that a narcotics violation that happened on Village Drive — consistent with the details from the UFPD report cited by Edgar Thompson — but that the subject was not arrested, instead being given a notice to appear.
An Internet search of Alachua County Clerk of Courts records turns up a citation for a Mark Anthony Thompson born in 1994 with a listed address in Pennsylvania for failure to display registration during a traffic stop in July that led to his license being suspended in August, but also suggests that the Thompson in that case showed proof of having registration this Friday. Regardless of the progress of that case — or whether that’s truly the same Mark Thompson who wears No. 24 for the Gators, given an inability to confirm those seemingly telling biographical details — that citation and the mishandling of it would seem to be too minor on their own to command a suspension for Thompson.
In a similar circumstance, former Florida wide receiver Alvin Bailey was arrested for failure to appear in regards to an unpaid traffic citation last summer. Bailey played in Florida’s season opener in 2015, making two catches for 43 yards.
Thompson’s showing proof of registration in the court records could be consistent with him complying with a notice to appear, or with a delay in recording the data from his possession citation in conjuction with his traffic citation.
Thompson serving a one-game suspension against the Bulldogs would also be consistent with a second violation of Florida’s drug abuse policy, which entails a suspension for 10 percent of a team’s games — or one game for football players.
Thompson, a redshirt junior, is third among Gators in rushing yards (262) and yards per carry (4.60), behind Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine. Thompson will fall 738 yards short of his stated preseason goal of 1,000 rushing yards by the end of Florida’s seventh game, but the trio of Scarlett, Perine, and Thompson sits just 63 yards from the 1,000-yard mark as a group entering Saturday.