Florida Gators defenders Zachary Carter and Antwuan Powell will miss the first half of Florida’s game against Georgia pursuant to NCAA rules governing their participation in a fight during the Gators’ win over Missouri, the SEC announced Monday.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen was also reprimanded and fined $25,000 by the league for “violating SEC Bylaws governing sportsmanship.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey issued this statement along with the league’s announcement:
“There is no place in college football for the kind of incident that took place at halftime of the Missouri at Florida game Saturday night. Everyone involved is responsible for meeting sportsmanship standards throughout each game. Running on the field to confront a game official, the gathering of teams in an on-field confrontation and student-athletes throwing punches are all disappointing at any time, but even more so as we work to support healthy competition during a pandemic.”
Florida also issued a statement from Mullen:
#Gators HC Dan Mullen: "I respect the decision from the conference office. As the head coach, it is my responsibility to defuse these types of situations, and I didn’t live up to that standard." https://t.co/IgrHN3vXtz— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) November 2, 2020
Florida’s Carter and Powell were ejected from Saturday’s game and did not play in the second half, as was Missouri’s Tre Williams. Williams, however, will not serve a half-game suspension in Missouri’s next game — coincidentally also against Georgia — as his ejection was for a flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct foul.
And the SEC citing NCAA guidance in regards to Carter and Powell is a tacit acknowledgement that the league itself is not levying any additional punishment to either player.
Trajan Jeffcoat, the Missouri player whose action — namely hitting Florida quarterback Kyle Trask well after his release of a pass on an untimed down to end the first half — led to the entire altercation, will not be suspended.
That hit going unflagged appeared to prompt Mullen to run onto the field and yell at officials (and possibly also at Missouri coaches) and to lead to players from both teams to converge in a mass, with Carter and Powell seen throwing punches.
While no Missouri players were ejected for fighting on Saturday, Chad Bailey, Dylan Spencer, and Markell Utsey were all determined to have violated SEC rules against fighting after video review of Saturday’s brawl, and will all sit for the first half of Missouri’s game against Georgia.
For Florida, the significant suspension of the two is the one handed to Carter, a veteran and starter on the defensive line. The junior has 15 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss through four games this season, and his shift to defensive end against Missouri — from a hybrid tackle-end role he was playing, and facilitated by Kyree Campbell’s return — helped Florida’s defense keep the Tigers’ offense to 17 points, a season-best for the Gators.
Without Carter available for a half, Florida is likely going to have to choose between playing a player out of position at his spot or tapping younger players to fill the role.
Powell, meanwhile, was expected to redshirt this season after significant shoulder injuries in high school, and his suspension should have zero on-field impact, as he has yet to record a statistic this season.