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GAMBLING, PAYOFFS AND DRUGS
Robert Sullivan
October 30, 1989
A number of Florida's athletes are in trouble with the NCAA as well as with the law
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October 30, 1989

Gambling, Payoffs And Drugs

A number of Florida's athletes are in trouble with the NCAA as well as with the law

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Had Maxwell tested positive? "I'll answer that at the proper time in the proper forum to the proper authorities," Arnsparger said.

Morris, meanwhile, agreed to answer some questions. He said that "the betting really didn't seem like that big a deal. All of a sudden, it just exploded, and we were shocked. It is like the Pete Rose thing. It's just as big as far as college ball's concerned. When it started, it never seemed it could get this big."

Morris acknowledged that he had often passed the large sign in the Gator locker room warning players not to gamble. He said the message just never sank in. Despite his protestations that the gambling was innocent fun, Morris said that he and Matthews knew they should keep their wagering under wraps. He also revealed a considerable knowledge of gambling lingo.

"How the guy who wrote that anonymous letter knew about it, I don't know," said Morris. "We kept it between ourselves. It would make the games more interesting. We'd parlay, or we'd do three-game teasers and things like that, having to pick four-to-one odds and things like that."

Morris said that he had never met the Georgia bookies, but that he had placed bets with one of them over the phone. "The bookies didn't know who we were, and we didn't know who they were," he said. Morris also said he was under the impression that the bookies were college-aged and that they handled action from a lot of students.

That night Morris attended the Gator Growl. It proved to be a painful experience. Each time his image appeared in highlight films that were shown on two huge screens, the crowd booed. "That hurt," Morris said on Saturday. "People started getting a little confidence in me and then I let them down...."

One thing that couldn't get lost in all the bad news was Smith's performance against New Mexico. Nevertheless, Smith is frustrated because the Gators' renegade reputation may jeopardize his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy. "That's a possibility," he said, "but I think the voters should judge me, not my school. I haven't stepped out of line. Don't penalize me because some of the players are having problems."

If Smith seems ungracious in distancing himself from Florida's troubles, forgive him. The ugliness has worn down even the most die-hard Gators. "This is a good school," said alumnus Mac Steen as he stood outside the stadium after the game. "It's got solid academics. It's not just a jock factory. We're all ashamed of this situation. I'll tell you, I'd rather have a program like Duke's or Vandy's, with integrity top to bottom, than this one."

Steen was cocaptain of the 1969 football team. That was back in the days when everyone still remembered Honest Jon MacBeth.

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