Coach Urban Meyer, after meeting with University of Florida President Bernie Machen and Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, announced today that junior Carlos Dunlap's suspension has been lifted and he will be allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats on New Year's Day.
Dunlap has a court appearance for a pending DUI charge stemming from an incident prior to the SEC Championship game. He was found slumped over the steering wheel of his car around 3:00AM the weekend prior to the match up with Alabama in Atlanta.
Dunlap has a scheduled court appearance on January 10, 2010, well after the season ends.
What is unknown at this time is why Meyer agreed to allow Dunlap to play in the Sugar Bowl.
Dunlap is expected to be a first round pick in the upcoming NFL draft if he chooses to leave school early. He has yet to announce his intentions, but it is a forgone conclusion that he will choose to forgo his senior season.
Did Coach Meyer allow Dunlap to play to improve his worth in the draft? Did Meyer feel Dunlap is innocent until proven guilty?
Or did Florida learn their lesson in the SEC Championship game and realize they need Dunlap if they are to be victorious?
Again, we do not know.
One thing is certain—now that Dunlap is playing in the Sugar Bowl, the Gators will greatly improve their defensive line play.
Dunlap has 35 tackles and seven sacks this season. Surely he will improve in both categories in the Sugar Bowl.
Therefore, it is my belief that Meyer chose to allow Dunlap to play to strengthen his stock in the upcoming draft. Dunlap has one game left as a Florida Gator and Meyer will do what he can to help his players find success on and off the field.
Dunlap made a mistake when he was arrested for DUI. He will have his day in court and he will deal with whatever punishment is dealt to him by the court and soon, he will be another millionaire professional football player.
Let's hope he learned a valuable lesson and will become a better person for it.