University of Florida

How a proposal to the SEC can help make this Florida wide receiver eligible in 2018

Mississippi wide receiver Van Jefferson scores a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
Mississippi wide receiver Van Jefferson scores a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Lexington, Ky. AP Photo

When the Southeastern Conference holds its spring meetings in Destin, Florida, next week, one proposal on the table will be of keen interest to Florida Gators fans.

The proposal, co-sponsored by Texas A&M and Florida, would lift all transfer restrictions on a student-athlete if their previous institution receives a postseason ban in football or basketball, as first reported by USA Today.

If approved, it would take away one less step in the Gators' attempt to have wide receiver Van Jefferson eligible for the 2018 season.

Jefferson and five other players transferred out of Ole Miss after the 2017 season. The Rebels football program received a two-year postseason ban from 2017-18 for violations committed under former coach Hugh Freeze, who resigned in August.

The other six players — Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, UCF receiver Tre Nixon, Houston safety Deontay Anderson, Georgia Tech offensive lineman Jack DeFoor, UAB linebacker Jarrion Street and Nebraska linebacker Breon Dixon — have already been ruled eligible for next season after undergoing the NCAA appeal process.

The distinction with Florida is that Jefferson transferred to another SEC school. Should he receive a waiver from the NCAA — Florida hasn't applied for it yet — SEC commissioner Greg Sankey would also need to sign a waiver.

This proposal eliminates that final step.

If Jefferson is indeed cleared to play for Florida next season, it would provide a significant boost to UF's wide receiver corps in coach Dan Mullen's inaugural season as the Gators' head coach.

Jefferson caught 91 passes for 999 yards and four touchdowns during his two seasons at Ole Miss. He also had an impressive showing during Florida's spring practice regiment.

“He’s making plays right now. One-on-ones, he’s getting matchups, he’s running by defensive backs, he understands a little bit more, probably. He’s got a little bit more experience,” Florida co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales said during spring practices, according to SEC Country.

The proposal also "imposes a significant financial penalty on schools that have been banned from the postseason in football or basketball by withholding all postseason revenue from the NCAA, SEC or bowl games that could be worth millions of dollars per year," according to USA Today.

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