Florida’s leading returning receiver, Antonio Callaway, and six other players will be suspended for the Gators’ season opener against Michigan on Sept. 2, the school announced Sunday. Florida Coach Jim McElwain did not elaborate on the reason for the suspensions, but ESPN reported the players used their school-issued IDs to make improper charges at the bookstore and then sold those items for cash. A person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press that the suspensions were for misusing school-issued funds.
“We have a small group of players that have made some choices that are extremely disappointing,” McElwain said in a statement. “Action has been taken — they have missed some practice and will miss the Michigan game. We will use this as a learning opportunity and we will have some players step up as we move forward.”
Callaway, a junior, was suspended indefinitely from the team during spring workouts in 2016 after being accused of sexual assault. Callaway was cleared of that alleged violation of Florida’s student conduct code last August and fully reinstated to the team before the team’s season opener. He caught 54 passes for 721 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore, while also serving as the Gators’ punt returner.
In May, Callaway was cited for misdemeanor marijuana possession while a passenger in a vehicle pulled over for a seat belt violation. He pleaded no contest to possession of drug paraphernalia and was fined $301. McElwain declined to speculate at SEC Media Days last month whether Callaway would be suspended for the season opener as a result of that charge.
The other suspended players for Florida’s opener against the Wolverines at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., are linebackers James Houston and Ventrell Miller, offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort and defensive linemen Keivonnis Davis, Jordan Smith, Richerd Desir-Jones.
Florida is No. 16 in the preseason coaches’ poll, while Michigan is ranked No. 9.