GAINESVILLE — Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey is not the first Gator to be arrested, and if trends are to be believed, he will not be the last.
The redshirt junior’s arrest on Tuesday on a charge of aggravated stalking, a felony, makes him at least the 30th football player to be arrested or face charges during coach Urban Meyer’s tenure. Meyer is two games into his sixth season.
Many of the charges have ultimately been dismissed, thanks in part to Gainesville lawyer Huntley Johnson, who handled cases for all but three of the players. But the number alone raises questions. Is it high? What procedures are in place to deal with student-athletes who are arrested? How are decisions made in regard to the team once that has happened?
“To me, it’s a lot,” said Jeff Benedict, a professor at Southern Virginia University who has written several books on athletes and crime. “I think, you know when you have that many players in that short of a time period who are in the news for criminal matters instead of football matters, that’s nothing but bad news for the university.”