The XX Factor

How Two Florida Schools Handled Sexual Assault Allegations Against Their Quarterbacks

The Florida Gators suspended Treon Harris the day after he was accused of sexual assault.

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On Monday, the University of Florida announced that freshman quarterback Treon Harris has been suspended indefinitely from the Gators football team after being accused of sexual assault. The school’s speedy response contrasts with that of Florida State University, which never suspended or otherwise punished Jameis Winston after the Seminoles quarterback was accused of sexual assault. Here’s a comparison of how the two Florida universities and various law enforcement bodies responded to this pair of allegations. (The Winston timeline is largely culled from the New York Timesmust-read rundown of that case.)


Dec. 7, 2012: Date of alleged Winston sexual assault.

Jan. 10, 2013: Alleged victim identifies Winston as suspect after seeing him on campus.

Jan. 14, 2013: Tallahassee police ask to interview Winston.

Jan. 23, 2013: Winston’s attorney declines to allow his client to be interviewed.


January 2013: At some point this month, a Florida State athletic department employee calls the Tallahassee police to ask about the Winston case.

Feb. 11, 2013: Tallahassee police change status of case from “active” to “inactive.”

Nov. 13, 2013: Tallahassee police release incident report after media requests, and TMZ reports that Winston is the suspect in question.

Nov. 14, 2013: Ten months after initial interview request, police finally collect DNA sample from Winston.

Nov. 20, 2013: ESPN reports that Winston’s DNA matches sample found in woman’s underwear.


Dec. 5, 2013: Prosecutor Willie Meggs announces that Winston will not be charged.

Dec. 14, 2013: Winston wins Heisman Trophy.

Jan. 6, 2014: Winston leads Florida State to national championship.

January 2014: More than a year after alleged sexual assault, Florida State administrators question Winston about the alleged assault. He declines to answer on advice of counsel, Deadspin reports.

April 2014: USA Today reports that the Department of Education is investigating whether Florida State’s investigation (or lack thereof) of the alleged sexual assault violated Title IX.

April 30, 2014: Winston suspended from Florida State baseball team for shoplifting seafood.

May 20, 2014: Florida State holds code of conduct hearings for Winston’s friends and teammates Chris Casher and Ronald Darby, both of whom “told police they witnessed Winston having sex with the woman,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Casher gets a year of probation from the school and Darby is cleared. The school does not hold a hearing for Winston himself.


August 2014: Closing in on two years after the alleged assault, Florida State commences its Title IX investigation of Winston, interviewing the quarterback’s accuser.

Sept. 19, 2014: Winston suspended from Florida State football team for one game for yelling “Fuck her right in the pussy” in imitation of unfunny viral video.


Sept. 23, 2014: Winston’s attorney says the quarterback will cooperate with Florida State’s Title IX investigation.

Oct. 4, 2014: Winston throws for 297 yards as Florida State beats Wake Forest 43-3.

Oct. 4, 2014: Freshman Treon Harris comes off the bench to lead Florida to a 10-9 win over Tennessee.

Oct. 5, 2014: Harris “accused of sexually assaulting a female student on campus early Sunday morning,” ESPN reports.

Oct. 6, 2014: University of Florida releases statement announcing that the school’s police department is investigating the alleged sexual assault with help from the Gainesville Police Department. School president Bernie Machen says, “We have no tolerance for sexual assault on our campus.” Harris is suspended from the football team.

Oct. 11, 2014: Winston scheduled to start Florida State’s game against Syracuse. The 5-0 Seminoles are ranked No. 1 in the AP college football poll.