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January 19, 2007

Congressman opposes pro-Gators resolution

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Florida's biggest naysayer following the Gators' national championship wasn't from Columbus or Knoxville, Tenn., or even Tallahassee, Fla. He was on the floor of Congress.

The day after Florida's 41-14 win over Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game, Congress passed House Resolution No. 39, commending the Gators for winning the national championship.

But there was one Congressman who couldn't support the resolution, which passed 414-1.

Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who represents District 1 in South Georgia from Savannah to St. Marys, was the lone congressman to oppose the resolution that commended "the University of Florida Gators for their victory in the 2006 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and for winning the national college football championship."

Kingston, a University of Georgia graduate, said the decision to vote against one of his alma mater's rivals was "a little of a spur of the moment."

"I cheered for Florida. I wanted Florida to win. I am an SEC guy," said Kingston, who was raised in Athens, Ga. "But there's only so far a Bulldog can go."

Kingston said opposing the resolution, which was sponsored by Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and 10 other Florida representatives, was "in the spirit of affectionate rivalry."

"I had some damage control with my Florida friends," said Kingston, who lives in Savannah, Ga. "There might have been more wrath from my Bulldog friends if I had voted (for Florida)."

He may not have been alone had Rep. Charlie Norwood been present for the vote, he said. Norwood represents Georgia's 10th district, home of Athens and the University of Georgia.

Resolutions congratulating sports teams are fairly common in Congress. Also on Jan. 9, the House passed a resolution congratulating Boise State for its win in the Fiesta Bowl and its undefeated season by a vote of 415-0.

Full text of House Resolution 39:

Commending the University of Florida Gators for their victory in the 2006 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and for winning the national college football championship.

Whereas, on January 8, 2007, the University of Florida Gators won the 2006 Bowl Championship Series national title with a stunning 41-14 defeat over the Ohio State University Buckeyes;

Whereas the University of Florida is the premier academic institution in the State of Florida;

Whereas the University of Florida football program celebrated its 100th Anniversary this season;

Whereas the University of Florida Gators captured the South Eastern Conference (SEC) Championship title on December 2, 2006;

Whereas the University of Florida won the NCAA Championship title in basketball in April 2006;

Whereas the University of Florida is the first Division I school to hold the national championship title in both football and men's basketball concurrently;

Whereas Florida football Head Coach Urban Meyer is only the 7th coach to win a national championship in his first two seasons as a Division I college football coach;

Whereas senior quarterback Chris Leak was the Most Valuable Player of the BCS national championship game;

Whereas the Florida defense held Ohio State to only 82 yards of offense, the lowest ever for a BCS game;

Whereas the University of Florida student athletes are among the most talented in the Nation;

Whereas University of Florida fans worldwide supported and encouraged the Gators throughout the football season;

Whereas J. Bernard Machen, President of the University of Florida, and Athletic Director Jeremy N. Foley have shown great leadership in bringing success and glory to the University of Florida; and

Whereas the University of Florida students, faculty, alumni, and all Gator fans are deeply committed to bringing pride to the University of Florida and the entire State of Florida:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) commends the Florida Gators for their victory in the 2006 Bowl Championship Series and for winning the national college football championship;

(2) recognizes the achievements of the players, coaches, students, and staff whose hard work and dedication helped the University of Florida Gators win the championship; and

(3) directs the Clerk of the House of Representatives to transmit a copy of this resolution to University of Florida President J. Bernard Machen, football Head Coach Urban Meyer, and Athletic Director Jeremy Foley for appropriate display.

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