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Florida Gators placed on one-year probation, head coach Dan Mullen gets show-caused

The Gators get whacked out of nowhere for recruiting violations.

Kyle Trask and head coach Dan Mullen of the Florida Gators pose for photos before the game on senior night against the LSU Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on December 12, 2020 in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

The Florida Gators will have more than the Oklahoma Sooners on their minds this holiday season, as today the NCAA announced the program has been hit with one year of probation for recruiting violations.

Perhaps the more interesting outcome is head coach Dan Mullen getting a one-year show cause penalty, which means if any other school was to hire him in the next 365 days (spoiler alert: he’s not leaving Gainesville), that university would have to “show cause” as to why they’re hiring a convicted cheater.

This used to be a major black mark for coaches, but less so after Central Florida’s men’s basketball coach Donnie Jones got a three-year show cause and kept chugging along like nothing happened.

The big issue here is that programs on probation take a hit in the minds of recruits (though the Gators signed the 10th-best class in America last week), and the loss of scholarships and official visits can have adverse effects downstream.

Most of what the Gators got hit with has already been served via self-imposed penalties from the school like reduced evaluations in the last recruiting cycle (from 42 to 21) and banning Mullen from recruiting during the January 2020 contact period for the first 10 days.

There’s still a couple that haven’t been served yet, such as a week-long off-campus recruiting ban for the entire coaching staff during the spring 2021 off-campus period, but most of this is over. And with a solid-if-not-spectacular recruiting class in the door, it shouldn’t hurt the Gators too far into the future.