Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway will be “ready to go” for the Gators in their 2016 season opener against Massachusetts after spending much of the offseason suspended from the school and team activities pending the resolution of an alleged student code of conduct related to a sexual assault, Jim McElwain confirmed in his Monday press conference.
Callaway was suspended in January, and spent the spring suspended from both the football program and the school, but returned to the team and classes in the summer, and was ultimately found not responsible in regards to the assault in early August — despite the woman who brought the complaint against him boycotting a hearing that produced that verdict over the allegedly disqualifying conflict of interest of the hearing officer, a Florida booster.
The conventional wisdom for months has been that Callaway would return to the field expeditiously if cleared; today’s announcement appears to be confirmation that McElwain will not mete out punishment that includes missing snaps in a game beyond what was already dispensed by the university pending the resolution of Callaway’s case.
McElwain also previously mentioned that Callaway went through counseling related to a revelation of marijuana use made in the course of his hearing. Counseling is mandatory for a first violation of Florida’s substance abuse policy for marijuana, though it is unclear whether Callaway’s revelation of marijuana use constituted a violation of that policy.
McElwain also confirmed that freshmen Tyrie Cleveland and Rick Wells would be suspended for Florida’s opener against the Minutemen after offseason arrests for firing BB guns into an on-campus dorm. McElwain initially hinted that “two freshmen and a senior ... made choices” that would result in their suspension from Saturday’s game, then later confirmed that Cleveland and Wells were the two freshmen.
McElwain refused to clarify which senior he was referring to at the end of his press conference.