Florida head coach Jim McElwain began his speaking tour with Gator boosters this week and the last thing he wanted to be dealing with is one of his best athletes in serious trouble with the law. When asked about how the and the staff deal with discipline, McElwain started with his steady answer of when you mess up enough, the authorities take care of the punishment.
“First and foremost, we’re all in charge of our own self-determination,” McElwain said before a the Central Florida Gator Club meeting on Wednesday. “We live in America, man, we’ve got freedom of choice. It’s awesome. The thing we don’t have is freedom of consequence.”
Given that J.C. Jackson has pleaded innocent McElwain talks about the choices that people, more importantly his players make and will make.
“At the end of the day, it’s interesting,” McElwain said. “Guys discipline themselves based on their actions. No matter what they say, no matter what they do your actions speak louder than words. So the thing that we try to do is guide them in choices and decisions. Yet at the same time, based on your choices there’s certain consequences that go along with those, that’s how it works.”
Fightin’ Gators has learned that Jackson has gathered all the necessary school materials to finish the semester that was close to coming to an end before all of this happened over the weekend. He will be doing most everything online since he is not allowed to be on the Florida campus until he clears the felony charges against him. McElwain reaffirmed that information to a certain extent.
“I think he posted bond,” McElwain said. “At this point, he’s not in school. They’re trying to get some things for him that he might be able to finish up and get some grades for this semester.”
With Jackson pleading innocent, McElwain and company still have no choice but to still act as the charges indicate and that won’t change until the charges change. Until that point the law will deal with Jackson much more than the staff can.
There is no further indication at this point what will happen if Jackson’s name is cleared.