Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators Arrested Again: Fix This Mess

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IJune 11, 2009

One look at Urban Meyer, and the media's love for this guy becomes obvious. Meyer is the typical "American Dream" story.

Meyer has had success every coaching stop he has made, from high school (St. Xavier (OH) DB Coach) to Bowling Green, Utah and now Florida. To put it simply: Meyer has what only one other man poses (Pete Carroll, USC) in college football: The Midas Touch.

Everything Urban Meyer touches turns to gold. Meyer has been a winner no matter where he coaches:

  • Bowling Green: (2001-2002) 17-6 Overall
  • Utah: (2003-2004) 22-2 Overall & A Fiesta Bowl Win
  • Florida (2004-Present) 45-9 & 2 BCS Titles

With all of Urban's success being known, its time to reveal a harsh reality that the media doesn't want you to know.

Urban Meyer's teams are trouble off the field, lots of trouble.

History tells us of "Thug-U" (University of Miami) and Free Shoes University (Florida State) and their success with questionable character athletes.

The University of Florida has now taken their rightful spot as the number one team in the state, on and off the field.

Since 2005, Florida has had 24 Gator arrests. This means that there have been 24 different times a Gator player has faced a charge in a court of law.

Here is the Rap Sheet for Your Viewing Pleasure:

    Charge: Misdemeanor affray and resisting arrest without violence for his role in a May 30, 2009 fight outside a downtown Gainesville night club.
    Outcome: The State Attorney’s Office is currently investigating.
    Team punishment: To be determined.

    Charge: Felony burglary of an occupied dwelling unarmed and misdemeanor battery in late April 2009 for allegedly forcing his way into a Gainesville apartment and punching a man in the face.
    Outcome: Case was dismissed due to lack of evidence, according to lawyer Huntley Johnson.
    Team punishment: To be determined.

    Charge: Misdemeanor violation of a sexual restraining order in February 2009 after getting on the same campus bus as an ex-girlfriend. The woman previously filed a petition claiming Johnson date-raped her on three occasions.
    Outcome: All charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.
    Team punishment: Johnson never missed any time. Coach Urban Meyer said Johnson would remain on the team as long as the investigation checked out.

    Charge: Misdemeanor resisting an officer and failure comply with a police or fire department in February 2009. Campus police cited Cooper for not getting out of the way of a moving car upon police’s orders, according to Johnson.
    Outcome: The case was dismissed. 
    Team punishment: Cooper played baseball during the spring, and it’s unknown whether Meyer sought out punishment
    Charge: Felony counts of burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice in November 2009 after allegedly stealing a laptop from a UF student and throwing it out his dormitory window upon police suspicion.
    Outcome: Newton received pre-trial deferment – common for a first-time offender – and is serving community service and probation time. The charges will disappear assuming he completes his obligations. 
    Team punishment: Meyer suspended Newton for the rest of the 2008 season. Newton transferred to Blinn (Texas) Junior College.

    Charge No. 1: Misdemeanor possession of marijuana in February 2007.
    Outcome: Charges were dropped without legal ramifications.
    Charge No. 2: Felony domestic violence by strangulation and felony obstruction of justice after a November altercation with a girlfriend.
    Outcome: Charges were reduced to misdemeanor status, then the Alachua County courts gave him two years probation without proceeding with the charges.
    Team punishments: Rickerson was suspended for the 2007 season opener for the marijuana charge, then kicked off the team the morning of the domestic violence incident.

    Charge: Misdemeanor knowingly driving with a suspended license on numerous occasions, including once in July 2008 and another in March 2009 – two weeks after he left the team – that placed him in jail.
    Outcome: The July case was closed. 
    Team punishment: Davis was always in Meyer’s doghouse and hardly allowed to practice or play with the team for various academic and disciplinary reasons, so it’s safe to say Meyer suspended Davis for his crimes.

    Charge No. 1: Cited for misdemeanor property damage and criminal mischief in April 2007 for allegedly throwing a man onto the hood of a car during a fight.
    Outcome: Hornsby received deferred prosecution and the charge was later dismissed.
    Charge No. 2: Unauthorized use of a credit card to obtain goods and services, a felony, along with misdemeanor larceny of a credit card for allegedly making more than 70 fraudulent charges on the gas credit card of a female UF student who died seven months earlier.
    Outcome: Charges were reduced to misdemeanors and Hornsby took a plea deal—probation and community service.
    Team punishments: No punishment for first offense, kicked off the team for second offense. Hornsby served a previous five-game suspension, but it wasn’t for the first misdemeanor – it was for selling his complimentary tickets.

    Charge: Misdemeanor battery in December 2007 for an altercation with a clerk at Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shop in Gainesville. Cunningham allegedly threw paper cups at the clerk.
    Outcome: Charges were dropped.
    Team punishment: Cunningham played in Florida’s next game, the Capital One Bowl, but Meyer said he imposed physical punishment on Cunningham, who also couldn’t accept bowl-game gifts.

    Charge: Felony theft in October 2007 for breaking into a car impound and retrieving his girlfriend’s car, which had been towed.
    Outcome: Charges were dropped.
    Team punishment: Joiner never missed game time, but Meyer stripped him of his captaincy.

    Charge No. 1: Aggravated assault, battery and use of display of a concealed weapon during commission of a felony in April 2007 for shooting a semiautomatic rifle after a dispute with another man.
    Outcome: Wilson pleaded no contest to battery and discharging a firearm. The felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor and later dropped. Wilson was placed on two year’s probation and given 100 hours of community service.
    Charge No. 2: Misdemeanor possession of marijuana in January 2008.
    Outcome: The charge was dropped despite serving probation for his original arrest.
    Charge No. 3: One count of battery and one count of assault for an altercation at an apartment complex in October.
    Outcome: Nothing has been ruled on the case, according to court records.
    Team punishments: Wilson was suspended for the entire 2007 season stemming from the gun charge, including a full-year suspension from University of Florida academics. Wilson rejoined the team in 2008 but was suspended and eventually kicked off after the third charge.

    Charge: Misdemeanor affray and resisting arrest for his role in an April 2007 fight.
    Outcome: Charges were dropped.
    Team punishment: No suspension for Doe.

    Charge: Felony theft in May 2007 when he removed a University Police boot from his car and put it in his trunk.
    Outcome: Charges were dropped.
    Team punishment: No suspension for Munroe.

    Charge: Misdemeanor violation of probation in May 2007 after failing to serve five hours of community service stemming from an alcohol citation.
    Outcome: Curtis complied with the violation, served probation and the case was dismissed.
    Team punishment: Curtis was in Meyer’s doghouse, but he was also injured, so it was difficult to tell why he was out.

    Charge: Purchasing marijuana—a felony—along with misdemeanor possession of marijuana in June 2007.
    Outcome: The felony charge was dropped due to a minuscule amount (8 grams); James served probation and community service stemming from the misdemeanor charge. 
    Team punishment: Suspended for one game, the 2007 opener against Western Kentucky.

    Charge: Misdemeanor domestic battery in July 2006 after an altercation in Daytona Beach with the mother of his child. The initial investigation took place in June 2006 with Atkins facing accusations of felony false imprisonment along with the battery charge.
    Outcome: Atkins received pre-trial intervention and both cases were eventually dropped.
    Team punishment: Meyer immediately suspended Atkins, who then transferred to Bethune-Cookman, found legal trouble there and died in July 2007 from a drug overdose.

    Charge: Misdemeanor possession of marijuana in May 2006.
    Outcome: Charges were dropped, and Murphy had to perform 12.5 hours of community service.
    Team punishment: Murphy was suspended for three games during the 2006 season.

    Charge:  Misdemeanor driving with a suspended license in September 2006.
    Outcome: Charges were dropped and Demps received six months probation.
    Team punishment: Meyer kicked Demps off the team after the 2006 season reportedly for a marijuana-related incident. Demps worked out with the Gators later that summer but never played for UF again.

    Charge No. 1: Misdemeanor charges of battery and theft in July 2005 stemming from a sworn complaint.
    Outcome: Charges were dropped because victim did not wish to prosecute.
    Charge No. 2: Misdemeanor violation of a city ordinance and disorderly conduct in October 2005 for his involvement in a fight. Eyewitnesses told police that Grace threw a punch.
    Outcome: Grace completed a deferred prosecution program including 7.5 hours of community service.
    Team punishment: Meyer suspended Grace indefinitely after the October arrest. Grace later transferred to Georgia Southern.

Amazing isn't it? All 24 since 2005, all under the watchful eye of Urban Meyer. Meyer's response to this issue?

"This group of players we have now are by and large a pretty good group. They are 18-to-22 years old and, like most young people, they are trying to find their way."

"It is a continual part of our program to mentor and guide our players and it is not an exact process. Although we have been very successful with most, we are by no means perfect. We are disappointed when we encounter some issues along the way, but we are going to continue to educate and teach our players."

Wow! he almost sounds genuine. The truth of the matter is that Urban Meyer has sacrificed values for the "W's" of college football. Any "mentor" who would have this type of rap sheet from his/her "pupils" would not call themselves a success.

"Trying to find their way?" I am the same age as these players, and I know that best way to find yourself is probably not in jail, through drugs, battery, or theft. If Urban is looking out for his players, he might want to lend them that piece of advice.

The list does not mention the 'character guys' Meyer relied on to win games such as Percy Harvin (Marijuana, unsportsmanlike conduct suspensions) or Jarvis Moss (Team suspension).

Even more amazing, since Randy Shannon took over "Thug-U," only one player has been arrested: Freshman Robert Marve for breaking a car mirror. Marve is no longer with the team, having transferred to Purdue.

It's time for Urban Meyer to step up and accept his issues with his players. Joe Paterno has done it at Penn State and it hasn't hurt his team. Florida can win with character, as Urban Meyer has proven at Utah and Bowling Green.

The SEC and the rest of College Football need to realize that winning is not always everything, if the players you have cant represent their university proudly. Urban Meyer has a knack for turning teams around, let's see him turn Florida back around to a respectable power.


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