Revelation may derail Florida's dynasty. The Florida Gators quest for a second consecutive BCS National Title just got a bit more complicated.
In a stunning turn of events, rival SEC coaches have asked that Florida QB Tim Tebow be disqualified from SEC play because he was born overseas.
SEC bylaw 15.0.9(u)(m) states "any Quarterback who for participates for a member school against another member school must prove birth in the United States of America."
Tebow was born in the Philippines.
Tennessee Coach Lane Kiffin has called upon the SEC to immediately rule Tebow ineligible for SEC play, and to vacate all of Florida's 2008 conference victories.
"It's only right," said Kiffin when reached by phone. "Look, I got nothin' against Tim, but [Tennessee quarterbacks] Jonathan Crompton and Nick Stephens had to prove birth on American soil, as did all other SEC QBs. Why should Tim be any different."
South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier agreed. "It's a dadgum shame it has to go down like this. But SEC quarterbacks gotta be born here. That's all there is to it."
Florida, which is seeking it's third BCS National Title in four years, may have to go with backup John Brantley for the SEC spate. He was born in Ocala, Fla.
Tennessee fans were squarely behind their coach.
"I think it's great," said Smokey McBlue, a longtime Vols season ticket holder. "Foreigners got no business playing' QB in the SEC. A rule's a rule. I can't lie, though, I'm just tickled that it happened to those sunovabitchin Gators."
When asked if this is just sour grapes for Tebow's success, "Scooter", a Gamecock fan, was visibly offended. "That's just the liberal media. They were biased for Florida throughout the season. They always take up for illegals. They should stop trying to silence these great American (Kiffin and Spurrier)"
At Florida's practice today, Coach Urban Meyer was sullen but unbowed." We'll certainly confer with our compliance people. But let me say that this is a rotten thing to such a good young man. Truly rotten." When asked if his comments were directed at Kiffin, he responded cryptically. "What do you think?"
When asked why they did not catch this error and convert Tebow to a tight end, he replied, "I guess we just missed it. I don't think it's ever come up."
Meyer and Florida President J. Bernard Machen vowed to fight for a rule change, but conceded it's unlikely.
"Just proves we have a long way to go in this society when we question someone's fitness due to accident of birth," said President Machen via a written statement. "It's not as if Tim's parent's conspired in 1987 to have a kid in Manila so as to circumvent SEC rules."
Since the BCS is not bound by the NCAA or conference rules, it is unclear what the impact would be should the SEC vacate the Gator's 2008 conference campaign. What is clear is that Coach Meyer is ready to move forward-and settle scores.
"We'll rally around John Brantley, and our goal will remain the same, to win each game we play. And there will be no mercy in some quarters."
Orly Tates could not be reached for comment.