Only months after serving a two-game suspension for receiving improper benefits, Florida junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was adopted by the person who provided those benefits, according to a report by USA Today.
Floyd was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for accepting more than $2,500 over several months from the Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Delaware.
After Floyd was adopted by 50-year-old Kevin Lahn, Floyd was given a 2012 Ford Explorer XLT, a credit card and had his apartment leased by Lahn.
While this might sound like a rash of NCAA violations, NCAA rules allow adoptive parents to provide money and other gifts to student-athletes. So with Lahn now Floyd's official guardian, the "benefits" he receives/received are well within NCAA rules.
Floyd and Lahn met through Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation while Floyd was still in high school in Philadelphia. Floyd, who comes from a very impoverished background, used the money from Lahn for living expenses and transportation. He also used it to fund unofficial visits in order to get a better feel for schools during his recruitment. Florida wasn't one of those schools.
A lot of people are probably scratching their heads about this one. Think about it: A 21-year-old college student-athlete is legally adopted by a man who had him suspended because he gave him improper benefits. The same man was also disassociated from South Carolina for making impermissible inducements to recruits from spring 2009 to February 2011 through the foundation. The NCAA also found that he helped provide extra benefits to members of South Carolina's men's and women's track teams in June 2010.
It's OK if you think that sounds a little shady, but this adoption was made legal.
With Lahn adopting Floyd, he now has access to a 6,500-square foot home outside of Philadelphia and a luxury yacht. Lahn also paid for a combined fifth wedding anniversary/21st birthday.
It's natural for the conspiracy theorists to come out for this one, but even with Floyd living more of a posh lifestyle, it's within the NCAA's rules. Some may call it a loophole for Floyd, but the adoption was made legitimate and no one outside of Floyd and Lahn truly know what sort of real relationship these two have.
The Michael Oher situation immediately comes to mind, and that turned into one of the all-time feel-good stories in college football. Now, Oher's adoption took place in high school, while Floyd's occurred toward the end of his sophomore year of college, but that doesn't make Floyd's adoption any less legitimate.
It seems like a tricky situation, but at this point there really isn't anything the NCAA can do. Lahn informed Florida of what was happening and Florida wasn't worried about the situation. If the school thought things were fishy last year, it would have stopped this. It didn't, and Will Muschamp even lashed out at the NCAA for punishing Floyd last year.
As of now, Florida isn't worried about the situation and it sounds like it really doesn't have to be.