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UF ahead of curve in autograph rules


Published:   |   Updated: August 15, 2013 at 12:36 AM

GAINESVILLE — Saturday marks another fan day for Florida, and once again the Gators will not allow players to sign helmets or other memorabilia items.

This is not something new, though. Florida has had this policy for at least the past 15 years. The Gators are believed to be the nation’s only football program that has had this policy since at least the 1990s.

While other schools are reacting to potential NCAA issues relating to players being paid by memorabilia dealers to sign items, Florida has been ahead of the curve.

UF will allow players to sign autographs only on team posters at the Gators’ annual fan day. Florida initially made the decision to limit autographs to team posters because of concerns over memorabilia dealers selling autographed helmets and other items.

“We made the decision some 15 years ago that we wanted to try to limit the risk of potential issues that could arise from our annual fan autograph day,” UF senior associate athletic director Jamie McCloskey told former Tribune sportswriter Brett McMurphy, who now writes for ESPN.com. “The last thing we want to do is to put our student-athletes in a situation where we could have affected their eligibility from an event that we held on our campus.

“It wasn’t a very popular decision, but we thought it was the right thing to do.”

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is under review by the NCAA over whether he accepted money for signing autographs.

Manziel is being investigated for allegedly signing autographs for money before January’s BCS title game. Such a deal would compromise Manziel’s status as an amateur.

DEFENSIVE UPDATE: New Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin takes over a unit that had heavy losses to the NFL after ranking among the nation’s best a year ago but he sounds positive about the replacements.

Despite having almost an entirely new linebacker unit, Durkin said Wednesday he as optimistic.

“Those guys are competing well. Obviously we had some (freshmen) coming in early, and several of them were with us in the spring,” he said. “They’re doing a good job. Mike Taylor, Darrin Kitchens are guys with experience that are playing really well. Neiron Ball is playing inside right now and doing really well.”

David Jones, Florida Today; wire reports

Seminoles lose Haggins for season

TALLAHASSEE — Following Florida State’s first scrimmage of the preseason, coach Jimbo Fisher announced that senior WR Jarred “Scooter” Haggins likely will miss the entire season with a knee injury.

With the loss, the Seminoles are down to just seven wide receivers — including three freshmen — on scholarship.

“Scooter’s going to be out for awhile. (He’s) probably done for the year,” Fisher said. “He’s got a stress fracture.”

After sitting out during spring camp with a knee injury, the senior was limited by the knee at the start of fall camp.

“We knew it wasn’t healing right, so we went back and looked,” said Fisher, who confirmed that Haggins will be able to use a medical redshirt this year, and return for the 2014 season.

The loss comes a week after senior WR Willie Halsted was let go from the team after failing to meet academic requirements.

Corey Clark, Tallahassee Democrat

Golden likes defensive line depth

CORAL GABLES — Miami coach Al Golden was asked why the four new defensive linemen on the roster — transfers David Gilbert (Wisconsin), Justin Renfrow (Virginia), Ufoma Kamalu (Butler Community College in Kansas) and freshman Naim Mustafaa (Oklahoma State) — are so important to the team.

“There’s been no symmetry there in terms of the depth,” Golden said. “Whoever we add in recruiting will come into positions where they can compete for jobs just like these kids are now. We needed to start to build some depth so we weren’t playing guys before they were ready to play all the time.”

THIN ON O-LINE: While UM’s defensive linemen are multiplying almost daily, their offensive counterparts are not.

They are growing thinner and thinner, but for now, it only involves nonstarters. Golden had news on four who are either limited or out. And there’s a spider bite involved.

First, freshman reserve Hunter Knighton is out for the season after having shoulder surgery Tuesday.

Then there’s Danny Isidora. His foot injury will keep him out at least eight weeks, Golden confirmed. Freshman Sunny Odogwu was “banged up” in the scrimmage and would be listed as “questionable” if this was a game week, Golden said. He’ll be held out of practice for a few days. Odogwu was working in the rotation at right tackle.

Finally, Golden said freshman Alex Gall had some kind of spider bite on his hand and was having trouble getting in his stance.

“So no,” Golden said. “I do not feel good about the offensive line situation.”

NOTEWORTHY: Sophomore S Deon Bush (hernia rehab) was upgraded to a yellow, limited-contact jersey. Golden said he is hopeful Bush will be ready for the first game. ... Reserve DE Jalen Grimble left the team for personal reasons.

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