TAMPA - The USF football program dismissed senior running back Mike Ford for violation of team rules on Wednesday afternoon.
"To all of my family, friends and fans, I made a mistake that I really, really regret and I apologize for that," said Ford. "I am responsible for my own actions. Please forgive me for I am only human. This will not be the last of Mike Ford. I will continue my dream, and I will graduate. Thank you to coach Jim Leavitt, coach Skip Holtz and coach Carl Franks. Once again, I apologize and will continue to push forward."
Ford rushed for 1,502 yards and 23 touchdowns during his three seasons with the USF football program. The Sarasota native was named the MVP of the 2010 International Bowl after rushing for 207 yards and one touchdown in the Bulls win over Northern Illinois.
"I am disappointed for Mike more than anything else," said USF head coach Skip Holtz. "I hope that he learns some important life lessons from this experience at USF. A lot of people care deeply for him. He needs to realize that he can respond to this adversity in a positive way and still fulfill many of his goals as a person, student and football player. I want the very best for Mike as he moves forward with is life and I will be here to support him."
USF will have six scholarship running backs - Bradley Battles, Richard Kelly, Lindsey Lamar, Demetris Murray, Aston Samuels and Jamar Taylor - on the roster in 2010 and is optimistic about Mo Plancher receiving a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.
The Bulls also signed running backs Marcus Shaw, Michael Hayes and Tiger Powell to National Letters of Intent. All three are expected to enroll at USF for the fall semester of the 2010-11 academic year.