Chris Steele is a five-star recruit and freshman cornerback for the Florida Gators. Or he was, anyway. Steele headlined a strong 2019 recruiting class for Florida, and enrolled early, moving to Gainesville this past semester. A lot happened in the past few months, though, and Steele has entered the transfer portal after the school mishandled his living situation.
Zach Abolverdi of the Gainesville Sun reports Steele entered the transfer portal on Wednesday night, and the decision stemmed from Florida’s handling of his roommate situation. Steele didn’t feel comfortable sharing a dorm room with fellow 2019 recruit Jalon Jones.
Abolverdi reports Steele requested to move dorms within his first month on campus, but Florida didn’t plan to move him until after the semester. After Steele made his request and was subsequently denied, Jones was accused of sexual battery by two female students at Florida. According to the Sun’s report, the incident occurred at the dorm shared by Jones and Steele. Jones has also entered the transfer portal, and no charges have been filed.
Steele was, understandably, upset about how the situation unfolded, and has decided to take his talents to another school.
Football impact aside, Florida egregiously mishandled this situation. Considering how often students are moved around because of roommate trouble (especially during their first year on campus), it seems like someone at the school just didn’t feel like moving Steele, as opposed to not having the means to do so.
It’s hard to blame the school and only the school for Jones’ actions, no matter how despicable those actions may be. But the school can be blamed for ignoring Steele’s request, and will pay the price many times over. Steele is already gone, and future recruits will remember this story.
Perhaps this is one extremely unfortunate series of events rather than an indictment of Florida’s administration and its judgement. Either way, it’s hard to come out in a positive light. Refusing to move a student because of a roommate issue, then having that roommate be accused of sexual battery, is a huge red flag for any potential attendees of the university. This particular circumstance may not happen again, but working to prevent any of the kind is part of their responsibility as a university. They simply must be better.