Ron DeSantis goes to Gainesville, shames UF football team on campus
Image via AP

DeSantis early state AP
The Governor continues his critiques of the Gators' gridiron gang.

At the University of Florida, Florida’s Governor delivered some education on college football, and the home team falling short of historical expectations, in his latest gripes about the Gators’ gridiron performance.

Gov. Ron DeSantis told a Gainesville crowd that excuses were running out since a legendary coach left the college ranks.

“You know, Nick Saban has retired from Alabama. So this is the window,” DeSantis said.

“I know Georgia is still very tough. It’s a tough league. I get it. But I saw those national championships up back in the day and that was great and basketball too. I mean, so hopefully we’ll get back there. We’re really looking forward to seeing Florida return to being the college football capital of the world like we used to be.”

The Governor has griped about college football in the state not being what it was, including on the campaign trail when running for President.

“I will say, as somebody who was born and raised in Florida, the Florida-Georgia game was a little easier lift for us back in the day than it is now. And you Georgians know what I mean,” said DeSantis during an August campaign stop in the Peach State.

“We’ve done better on almost everything policywise. I can point out many things. College football has not necessarily been one of them. So we’re trying to turn the corner,” DeSantis added.

DeSantis similarly dismissed Billy Napier’s squad during September comments to the California Republican Party.

While he noted that University of Florida was “the top ranked public university in America,” he added quickly that he needed “their football team to start doing a little bit better.”

“Clemson has won in football recently. Florida, our state, has struggled in college football recently,” DeSantis complained in South Carolina. “We were the top state for years and years. We’ve not had anybody compete (recently) even to make the playoff until this year.”

“We’ve actually never had a team in the college football playoff since the playoffs started. Fast forward, rewind, when I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, it was like a Florida team was competing for the national title almost every year,” he said on a radio show around the same time in 2023.

“I realized this my first year as Governor. I asked my staff to give me letters of congratulations for all Florida’s high school blue-chip football recruits because we’ve got great high school football in Florida” DeSantis said during another event last year.

“And I’m signing these letters and it’s like, ‘Dear Michael, congratulations on going to the University of Georgia. Congratulations on going to Alabama.’ And I’m like, why congratulate them for leaving our state?”

He has also demonstrated understanding that the game has changed, however. In April, he suggested that an erosion of amateurism in sports — one ironically driven by name, image and likeness (NIL) endorsement schemes such as the one he made law — is to blame for the diminished status of Florida’s historical top programs.

“I think this whole NIL may need some guardrails and the transferring has gotten out of hand. You know, transferring once? Fine, you shouldn’t have to sit out. But to just treat it like a free agency where you don’t know who’s going to come back each year, I think that’s diluted college sports.”

Ironically, of course, Saban has said NIL was one of the reasons he left the game.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Dont Say FLA

    May 8, 2024 at 1:23 pm

    Anti-abortion is anti-college-football.

    College football players expect perks, and they don’t want their perks having any babies.

    • Carmen Rodriguez

      May 9, 2024 at 4:54 pm

      Then, don’t be irresponsible having sex!

      • MH/Duuuval

        May 9, 2024 at 11:08 pm


      • Dont Say FLA

        May 17, 2024 at 12:11 pm

        Have you met college football players? Or any college kids for that matter?

  • Kristopher Carter

    May 8, 2024 at 8:09 pm

    As a UF grad I agree with everything he said……The Gators are underachieving and should be ashamed

  • Simplejack

    May 8, 2024 at 9:10 pm

    I hate to admit it but he’s right, the gators suck. Go Noles —->

  • Surf

    May 9, 2024 at 1:07 am

    I don’t like this guy, but he’s right, he’s not right ofen but he knocked this one out of the park.

  • Surf

    May 9, 2024 at 1:08 am

    Why did he have to be right.

    • MH/Duuuval

      May 9, 2024 at 11:09 pm

      Even a blind squirrel finds a nut.

      Plus, years of Gatorland moaning “Wait until next year” left an imprint on Dee.

  • Margaret Evans

    May 9, 2024 at 7:53 am

    Perhaps, the best players are leaving Florida or not coming here due to our poor reputation as a State since DeSantis decided to turn it into a dictatorship.

    • rick whitaker

      May 10, 2024 at 10:25 pm

      MARGRET, nobody likes florida anymore since it has been desantisized, not even jocks.

  • MHart

    May 9, 2024 at 8:06 am

    DeathSanta will make every moment of his term a misery for as many people he doesn’t like as possible. Florida will be far better off when this fascist hater is gone.

  • LexT

    May 9, 2024 at 8:51 am

    There is a lot of truth to what Governor Desantis says here. Florida loves its college football. Florida State had an excellent season last year and was an unfortunate injury from being in the playoffs. The University of Florida has a proud tradition of college football excellence. UF is doing better and will have the toughest schedule in college football next year so it may be hard to appreciate improvement as a UF fan. Saban made college football look easy, but truthfully it historically has never been easy to get much less stay on top. Florida will get there again and soon.

    • rick whitaker

      May 10, 2024 at 9:12 pm

      LEXT, football is simulated war played by christians that crave violent competition and war. no wonder florida likes football so much. the state is about as redneck as it can be.

  • KathrynA

    May 9, 2024 at 9:32 am

    But to go to the college and criticize them–how low can you get? I know there is plenty to praise at UF; other than supposedly professor, Lapado.

    • My Take

      May 9, 2024 at 10:34 am

      Ever DeSgustus: “Look at ME!”

  • Michael Croft

    May 9, 2024 at 8:51 pm

    UF is a institution for learning. Football should be down the list about what one is proud about. Ethics, wisdom, relationships, learning life skills,… College leads to money and politics, and making wise choices. Football is fun, but not really the most important reason to get up in the morning, for most of us.

Comments are closed.


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