Chris Steele, an early Florida enrollee and 2018 ALL-USA First Team Defense selection, entered his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal.
The decision was rooted in a rooming change request he made to the team in January, according to the Gainesville Sun. The site reported Steele was “uncomfortable” rooming with quarterback Jalon Jones.
He was told the move would not be made until summer, which “upset Steele and his parents.”
According to ESPN, “multiple complaints” had been been since January.
In April, two women accused Jones of sexually battery within a 30 minute window, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The first woman said the encounter began consensually, but Steele and fellow freshman DB Jaydon Hill “entered the room and started laughing,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. The woman told Jones to stop, pushed him off and went to Steele’s room.
The second woman said she told Jones to stop as he took her her shorts and underwear and penetrated her, according to a police report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times. Jones only stopped when he heard Hill in the living room, according to the Gainesville Sun.
Steele decided to transfer following this incident, the Gainesville Sun reported.
A Twitter account that belongs to Steele’s father Norman, according to the Athletic, posted a tweet Thursday referring to the incident. Though Chris was not accused of any wrongdoing, his name appeared in the police report, and Norman said the association to this type of incident could stain Chris’ name.
1st and last tweet about this situation. Your last name as a man is with you forever and even transcends death, when that name is even remotely associated with something so appalling, you have to take a stand.
— BiggSteele562 (@BiggSteele562) May 9, 2019
Steele returned home to California two weeks ago, according to ESPN.
Head coach Dan Mullen went to Steele’s home Wednesday to apologize, ESPN reported. The outlet added that Chris returning to the program is “not out of the question” because the family respects the coach.
However, after Steele’s association in the police report and his rooming wishing not being respected, he may not.
It’s unclear which program Steele would choose if not Florida. The St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) product had been committed to hometown USC and UCLA at different points while in high school, and silently committed to Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma before choosing Florida, according to 247Sports.
The options for Chris will surely return.