The Florida Gators’ football program has had plenty of media coverage since Urban Meyer took over in 2005, but once again with the arrest of defensive tackle Gary Brown that media spotlight is less than flattering. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office arrested Brown after he hit a woman with his open hand as she tried to force people to leave a party the morning after a party, based on the police report. Another woman also received scratches as she intervened and tried to prevent the attack.
Brown was a top-ranked blue-chip recruit in 2009 and was expected to be a significant contributor this fall after a redshirt year. Brown spent Sunday morning in Alachua County Jail. Brown’s first appearance was expected to be Monday. A co-defendant who apparently used a fire extinguisher to spray people during the fray faces charges for grand theft of the fire extinguisher.
Brown’s arrest is just the latest of legal woes for Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators. Since 2005 when Meyer took over the Florida program, 27 players have faced misdemeanor or felony charges. While many of the charges have been dismissed or not resulted in prosecution, the number of incidents has led many to wonder whether the program is out of control. Recently, cases against Janoris Jenkins, Marquis Hannah, Carl Johnson and Riley Cooper were all dropped, but the publicity the cases created have cast a negative light on the Gator football program.
However, the cases against some Florida players have been serious enough that they have resulted in six players being suspended, who remained on the team, and three more that were ultimately kicked off the team entirely. While the Florida Gators have won two national titles under Meyer, the high number of arrests of Florida players since Meyer took over simply focuses a spotlight on the program’s trouble brewing off the field which obscures the success of Meyer’s program on the field.