Kan Li / Scout

Nobody wins with Callaway news

As lawyers take to the media to state their side of the Antonio Callaway sexual assault case that was adjudicated today at a student conduct code hearing, nobody is for the better.

The meeting, which was seven months in the making, took place Friday without the accuser, her counsel, and family present. This was in protest to what they call a bias selection of adjudicator in the process in former Florida athlete, current lawyer and current Gator booster Jake Schickel.

"Quite frankly, short of finding a relative of Mr. Calloway, I'm not sure how UF could have found someone with more conflicts [than] Mr. Schickel,” the complainant’s lawyer John Clune told ESPN in a letter earlier Friday.

Callaway’s lawyer Huntley Johnson fired back after a media hail storm from the ESPN report.

“We have read what the complainant’s attorney has released to the press,” Huntley started.

“We consider his actions inappropriate and an attempt at intimidation.”

“Since the complainant’s attorney has chosen to go to the press in this matter, we assume that he will be releasing the hundreds of pages that made up the University of Florida’s investigation. We assume that he will be releasing the sworn affidavits in this case. We assume that he will be releasing the complainant’s text messages in the investigation. We assume that he will be releasing the complainant’s multitude of varying and conflicting stories.

“We are not going to besmirch his client in the press. The totality of the investigation which is over one-thousand (1,000) pages will do that for us.

“Our client has asked us not to release anything at this point. Because of the conduct of the complainant’s attorney, that may change in the future.”

Johnson is not one it mix words and he didn’t, but it is pretty amazing that it has to come to all of this.

We all would like answers and yet we all have been trying to get answers since January when we found out that Callaway and then teammate Treon Harris were suspended from campus and the team. Harris has since asked and been granted a transfer, but both remained off campus until the start of the Summer B semester in late June.

There was a closed door meeting that calls for student confidentiality, but without one party present at all. I can’t see any other way this could have gone, albeit we have not heard a verdict of any sort.

Still, there are some questions to be raised here.

The first question goes to the first report. Why was someone with so many Florida ties and even to the athletic department put in charge of the meeting? That is a legitimate question and yet I have to believe that the University wasn’t just turning a blind eye to this.

Florida actually responded Friday afternoon to the allegations from the accuser’s attorney.

“Our student conduct process may be handled by a hearing officer, who could be a university employee or an outside professional, or by a committee of faculty and students. Any hearing officer and all committee members are trained and vetted for their impartiality. A hearing officer or committee member would not be disqualified or lack objectivity simply because he or she had been a student athlete decades earlier or purchases athletic tickets as more than 90,000 people do each year.”

They have taken seven months to make sure they get this right. With TITLE IX stuff happening at Florida State, Baylor, Tennessee, and seemingly everywhere in between, Florida in my opinion was doing their due diligence to make sure that whatever they held, they did it the right way.

There were no criminal charges, so for two prominent members of the team and students to be kicked out of school and the program for that long, they were just making sure.

So, how could they have made this mistake?  According to the last report above, they didn’t. I figured they had vetted the choice of Mr. Schickel to a higher authority and were cleared beforehand.

Even if it was a colossal oversight, the attorneys for the complainant notified Florida three days prior in writing that they had an issue and Florida felt it didn’t need to change.

Question number two… why did the attorney wait until the day of the meeting to go to the press and decide not to show?

I find it very hard to believe (albeit no way of knowing) that the accuser’s attorney found out just a few days earlier Schickel’s past as a Gator alum. So why do it like he did it, in the national press, and do it the day of the meeting?

Perhaps it was the only legit shot his side has of winning anything.

There are many more questions, many too complicated and controversial to go into in this space, but any way you look at it, this is an ugly side to human nature and quite honestly one of the worst topics I like discussing regardless of team affiliation. 

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