The Florida Gators were put in a strange position this weekend.
After their game against Idaho was cancelled following the opening kickoff due to a slew of weather delays that lasted nearly four hours, head coach Will Muschamp had a difficult decision to make regarding three players who were serving one-game suspensions.
Should he keep them suspended for the next week's game, now the season-opener against Eastern Michigan?
Or should he let bygones be bygones and let the cancelled game count as their punishment?
He made the latter decision, choosing to lift the suspensions of defensive tackle Darius Cummings, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick.
And that choice caused the Florida critics to come out of the woodwork, criticizing him for going easy on his talented players in a season where every game will play an important role in whether or not the embattled coach returns next year.
The Denver Post's Woody Paige spoke for many when he called the taken-back suspensions "the biggest, lamest thing I've ever heard," on ESPN's Around the Horn.
Surprisingly enough, Muschamp isn't too happy with his detractors.
"It's very frustrating for me as a coach," Muschamp told ESPN and other media outlets, "to have someone being critical and you don't even have all the information."
Cummings and Bostwick were suspended due to a violation of team rules and were the top two nose tackles on Florida's depth chart. Their loss would be a crucial one considering the Gators' defensive struggles last season and the team would have to resort to a third or fourth-string linemen to shore up that hole without those two.
Meanwhile, Robinson was slated to miss a game due to a (since-resolved) university sanction.
Muschamp made it clear though that he was going to run his program his way - even if it meant ruffling some feathers while appearing to go easy on some of his top contributors.
"At the end of the day, I make the decisions in this program," Muschamp said on Wednesday. "It's not just about suspending players for games. There's a lot of things that go into discipline. It's about altering and changing behavior, which we've done."
It is true that Muschamp inherited a program not known for its good behavior. By the beginning of 2010, 24 different players were arrested under former coach Urban Meyer - who later was highly-criticized for his laissez-faire reign.
But in the last 409 days, Florida has only seen one arrest - a misdemeanor marijuana charge from a freshman, according to GatorBait.net.
A few problems
Still, the public lifting of a suspension will fuel speculation that Muschamp has lost control of his locker room in the future.
It comes at a bad time for the coach, whose last three years with the school have been far from pretty. Despite an 11-2 season in 2012 that saw the Gators lose in the Sugar Bowl, Muschamp has gone 11-14 combined the other two years and didn't make a bowl last season.
That's unacceptable for most Florida fans.
Then there's the pretty fact that Robinson's suspension probably should be carried out. After all, his penalty was due to a university sanction - likely referring to some academic failure, whether it was cheating or simply not making good enough grades to remain eligible.
It's one thing to lift the suspensions of players who broke team rules, but it's another if a player didn't follow the academic standards required by his university.
Hopefully someone challenges Muschamp on that issue.
We wouldn't want college football fans to think a student-athlete is being valued more for his contribution on the field than for his work in the classroom now would we?
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