GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida quarterback Will Grier will miss the remainder of this season and the first six games of next season after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug during an NCAA-administered test.
Grier, whose suspension begins as the No. 8 Gators prepare to face No. 6 LSU in Baton Rouge, La., on Saturday, apologized Monday. He claims he took an over-the-counter supplement and didn’t realize it contained a substance banned by the NCAA. “I really hope that people can learn from my mistake,” said Grier, who got choked up as he spoke, “and I'm really sorry to everyone.”
Grier did not take questions, but Florida coach Jim McElwain faced plenty. With Grier out, the Gators will start sophomore Treon Harris. Harris started the final six games of Florida’s 2014 season, going 4-2, but Grier locked down the starting job after the Gators’ first two games this season. Grier, a redshirt freshman from Davidson, N.C., was 6-0 as Florida’s starter.
McElwain declined to name the supplement Grier took, joking that he “can’t pronounce it.” Asked to release the name of the substance, a Florida spokesman said he needed to check if the name of the substance was a protected medical record. The coach said he learned Grier would be suspended on Sunday. During the Gators’ 21-3 win at Missouri on Saturday night, someone posted on the GatorBait.com message boards that Grier would be suspended for “roids.” Asked about the message board post, McElwain reiterated that he did not learn of the suspension until Sunday.
The NCAA penalties for banned substances typically are more harsh than most schools’ penalties. According to Florida’s student handbook, an athlete caught for PEDs or street drugs other than marijuana would be suspended half a season. McElwain said Florida athletes are constantly reminded to monitor what they put in their bodies. “It can be prevented by just checking with our medical staff,” McElwain said. “I want everybody to know this is a mistake we’ll learn from.”