University of Florida quarterback Treon Harris has gone from star to suspect, as the freshman from Miami Booker T. Washington is currently under investigation by the University Police Department in connection to an alleged sexual assault of a female student, the school announced Monday.
Harris, a two-time state champion with the Tornadoes, has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities.
Harris is a local legend in Overtown, leading Booker T. Washington to 22 straight wins and three consecutive state-title appearances. Harris’ older brother, Tim Jr., is the Tornadoes’ head coach and told The Herald via text message, “Gathering info. Can’t comment now.”
Harris’ father, Tim “Ice” Harris Sr., is the Miami Hurricanes’ running backs coach. According to the Gainesville Sun, Harris Sr. said: “I’ll know more in a couple days, but I’ve talked to Treon and he’s fine. He’ll get through this.”
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In a statement released by the university, the Gainesville Police Department is assisting in the investigation but “will not have an active role in the filing of any charges” as it falls in UFPD’s jurisdiction.
The GPD Forensic Crime Unit is aiding evidence collection, with spokesperson Ben Tobias saying, “Forensic evidence collection, testing and analysis takes at least several weeks to be completed.”
According to UFPD’s crime logs, authorities were called early Sunday morning to investigate a sexual battery allegation at the Springs Residential Complex, campus housing for athletes and other students.
“We have no tolerance for sexual assault on our campus,” UF president Bernie Machen said in the statement. “The university is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for every member of the UF community. We must strive to protect all of our students from sexual harassment and assault, and do everything in our power to promote a safe learning environment.”
Harris sparked UF’s 10-9 come-from-behind victory against Tennessee on Saturday, replacing a benched Jeff Driskel and piloting the Gators’ two fourth-quarter scoring drives.
Gators fans had been clamoring for Harris to play since his dazzling debut – 2 of 2 for 148 yards and two touchdowns against Eastern Michigan – and he was poised to start against LSU (7:30 p.m., SEC Network) this weekend.
Florida abruptly cancelled its media availability Monday, and Harris’ Twitter account, @t5_harris, has been deleted.
Harris’ alleged off-the-field transgression is a recent rarity under coach Will Muschamp, who has cleaned up the program following the disciplinary mess he inherited from former Florida coach Urban Meyer.
The Gators have had just one player (freshman cornerback Jalen Tabor) arrested in the past 15 months.
“There’s consequences in our program when a young man makes a poor decision,” Muschamp said in mid-September. “It doesn’t mean he’s a bad person, but there are consequences. Our players understand that.”
Muschamp later added: “One poor choice, one poor sin can really impact the rest of your life in a negative manner. It’s a continuing education. It’s never over. You have to continue to educate your guys about all the pitfalls that they can come across in life and the choices and decisions they make.”
As of Monday night, no charges had been field, but Harris has retained Gainesville attorney Huntley Johnson, who has represented dozens of UF athletes over the years.
“I would be surprised and disappointed if he ends up being prosecuted in this case,” Johnson said, according to the Gainesville Sun.
Miami Herald sportswriter Manny Navarro contributed to this report.