Originally created 09/08/01

Florida point guard Dupay ineligible



GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Known best as the bad boy of Florida basketball, Teddy Dupay faced his most humbling moment Friday, forced to say goodbye to the Gators after school officials declared him ineligible.

The senior point guard announced the punishment himself, standing before media and delivering a prepared two-minute speech. He then stepped away from the podium, hugged coach Billy Donovan and walked away, his eyes glassing over with tears.

"I understand that I have violated NCAA rules and I take full responsibility for those actions," Dupay said. "I put myself in a situation that I should not have put myself in, and I am paying the price for that."

Athletic director Jeremy Foley said student confidentiality laws kept him from revealing specific reasons for the action. He did confirm that the investigation began in April, and that campus police had reached a point where "we felt the investigation was complete."

Later, campus police released a statement saying they had sent to the state attorney's office results of an investigation they began April 5 "into allegations of minor gambling infractions by a University of Florida student."

State Attorney Bill Cervone had not received the information as of late Friday, although he said it was clear from the context that Dupay "has been involved with gambling himself, or with others who were."

The NCAA mandates a one-year suspension for any student who solicits or accepts a bet involving college or pro sports. Foley said it was his understanding that Dupay would not be eligible to play elsewhere in college. NCAA gambling expert Bill Saum did not immediately return telephone messages left at his office.

Foley said the NCAA had determined Dupay's situation was an "individual eligibility issue, and not an institutional issue."

"We are saddened that Teddy will not be a member of the Gator program, but the fact of the matter is we had no choice but to come to this conclusion," Foley said.

A 5-foot-11 guard who set the state prep scoring record at Mariner High in Cape Coral, Dupay walked into Donovan's office during his sophomore year of high school and told him he wanted to play for the Gators.

That was before playing for Florida was in vogue, and Dupay was considered the beginning of Donovan's incredible recruiting streak that continues to this day.

"I love Teddy," Donovan said. "There are people who do things wrong, but I will stand by him the rest of his life. I think he knows in his heart that I'm behind him. I'll miss not having him around, but our relationship will go on for a long, long time."

If there's a position where Florida can afford a loss, however, it's guard. Returning to next season's team are Orien Greene, Justin Hamilton, Brett Nelson and LaDarius Halton.

Dupay averaged 13.4 points last season. He leaves Florida ranked third in school history with 188 3-pointers.

But as much as his shooting acumen, Dupay made a name for himself with his attitude; he was always at the center of the controversy.

Last season, he was suspended for one game for violating team rules. The suspension came a few days after he criticized Florida fans for poor attendance at an early season game.

In the 2000 national title game against Michigan State, Dupay and Mateen Cleaves got tangled up in on a play after the whistle had blown. Cleaves sprained his ankle, knocking him out of the game for several minutes.

Some saw it as a cheap shot, and Dupay earned a bad reputation as a result, in part because he didn't go out of his way to help Cleaves up.

Florida will let Dupay keep his scholarship if he chooses, although nobody is sure where he will go from here.

"It's every player's nightmare, to lose you senior season," Nelson said. "I'm sure it's tough on him. I know it would be tough on me."