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Friday, September 30, 2022
<p>Florida defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis did not play in 2017 following an indefinite suspension from then-head coach Jim McElwain. </p>

Florida defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis did not play in 2017 following an indefinite suspension from then-head coach Jim McElwain. 

We at alligatorSports published an article on Monday about Florida defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis violating three terms of his pre-trial intervention agreement for his involvement in a credit card scandal during the summer of 2017.

Just to recap for those that missed it: Davis hasn’t done any community service hours, he still owes money for court costs and he was caught with — and later admitted to smoking — marijuana on March 12.

Despite all that, his probation officer still requested he continue with the program, as if everything that had happened shouldn’t and doesn’t warrant any major consequences.

But it seems like that small detail has been drowned out by the attention-grabbing idea that Davis committed a heinous crime and should no longer be allowed on the team. Cries on message boards called for the redshirt junior to be cut from the team.

I’m here to say all of that is one big overreaction. Davis should receive punishment, but not as extreme as being kicked off UF’s roster

It starts with looking at what exactly happened.

The marijuana incident was a major slip-up. Possessing it is a crime in the state of Florida, as is smoking it. It also breaks NCAA regulations, not to mention team rules. Former players like Treon Harris and Mark Thompson have been suspended in the past for various violations involving the drug.

While Davis is in a bind due to the pre-trial intervention, let’s be honest. Is it really that bad? I know he is in a situation where he can’t afford to mess up as bad as he did, but the crime isn’t as terrible as what people want the punishment to permit.

Then we look at the other two violations. The first is a lack of community service, which can easily be explained.

About a month after the credit card scandal was revealed, Davis was involved in a scooter accident that left him hospitalized. To this day, he’s still not fully recovered and hasn’t participated in drills during spring practices with the Gators.

For someone who had gone through that serious of an injury, going out and completing 50 hours of community service while rehabbing is as hard as winning on Rainbow Road in Mario Kart without being able to drift. It’s not going to happen unless you have all the necessary tools to succeed.

And the final violation is he failed to pay off court costs. According to a letter filed to The Florida Department of Corrections, Davis still owed $139.62 as of March 19.

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I’m going to go on a limb and say that wasn’t the total amount he owed from the beginning. He probably had some sort of payment plan and was slowly working his way through it. But for a student-athlete who has no steady source of income, it becomes increasingly difficult for Davis to continue paying those costs. He can’t work for the money because his attention is turned toward both football and rehabbing his injury.

The point I am trying to make is simple. There is a reason the probation officer recommended he stay in the program. If he was in any actual legal trouble because he violated these terms, he would have been kicked from the pre-trial intervention program, and that probably would have been the last we would hear of him.

Jake Dreilinger is the assistant sports editor at The Alligator. Follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at jdreilinger@alligator.org.

Florida defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis did not play in 2017 following an indefinite suspension from then-head coach Jim McElwain. 

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