Okay, so basically, if you had circumstances that caused you to get a very low GPA for a certain year, then you'd pretty much have to explain those circumstances on your SOP. But the issue is, then, that either (a) you would have to cut out some good things from your SOP, potentially weakening it, or (b) you would probably go over the expected length of your SOP. Now, granted, there are circumstances in which one can use those circumstances to write an SOP that is even better than one without those circumstances (if one has learned significant experiences from them). But this is hard, since many professors are not interested in learning your life story. In any case, is this the sort of double jeopardy that I perceive it to be? Might professors be somewhat more lenient with SOP lengths if the applicant has those circumstances to explain away?