Reports: FCS-bound Mathieu failed drug tests ahead of LSU boot

47 Comments

Well, that certainly didn’t take long.

Early Friday afternoon, LSU announced that All-American cornerback Tyrann Matthieu had been dismissed from the Tigers for a violation of team rules, a decision school officials said was made last night.  Well, 24 hours later, Mathieu reportedly has found a new football home.

In a tweet from now-former teammate Josh Jasper, the kicker/punter “reports” that Mathieu has moved on to McNeese State in Louisiana.  The FCS-level school has not confirmed Mathieu’s addition to the roster.

If Jasper is accurate, it would mean that LSU dismissed Mathieu as “eligible” and the defensive back would be permitted to play immediately at his new program.  The move, again if confirmed, would be reminiscent of fellow defensive back and All-SEC performer Janzen Jackson‘s move from Tennessee to the same school in August of last year.

Jackson’s dismissal reportedly stemmed from failed drug tests.

A source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com that Mathieu’s dismissal came as a result of what the website calls “repeated violations of LSU’s substance abuse policy for athletes.”  Mathieu, along with two teammates, were suspended for one game last season, reportedly for a failed drug test or tests.

Neither head coach Les Miles nor athletic director Joe Alleva would confirm that failed drug tests resulted in the dismissal, but the latter stated that, whatever violation of school policy led to the boot, it was an ongoing issue.

“This was just a team policy, not going to confirm or deny either way,” Alleva said when asked about failed drug tests. “The policy is a written policy. It’s like the speed limit, if you are going over the speed limit, you’re breaking the law. He’s been over the speed limit. As in, he’s been over it a lot.”

According to LSU’s drug policy for athletes, “[u]p to [a] one-year suspension from all athletic related activities (team practices, weight room, team running, etc…)” and a “one-year suspension from competition” are automatically triggered after a third failed drug test.  A second failed drug test would result in a one-game suspension (15 percent of that sport’s regular season games, rounded down); as mentioned previously, Mathieu was suspended for one game last season, although the reason for the suspension was never confirmed by the school.

Updated 8/11 @ 1:06 p.m. ET: According a release from McNeese State “Mathieu has not made a decision on his intentions and there will be no other comments from McNeese about the issue at this time.” The release did state, however, that the two sides have met.

Cincinnati, Western Michigan ink home-and-home series

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Cincinnati and Western Michigan have agreed to a 2-game home-and-home series, it was announced Monday.

The Bearcats will host WMU on Sept. 12, 2020, and Western Michigan will host Cincinnati on Sept. 10, 2022.

The programs have met three times prior. Cincinnati and Western Michigan also played a home-and-home in 1949-50; the Bearcats won both games by scores of 27-6. Cincinnati also won their meeting in the 2007 International Bowl in Toronto,  a 27-24 triumph.

Cincinnati already has road games lined up with Miami (Ohio) and Nebraska in 2020, with a Sept. 5 opener still to fill. Considering the Bearcats already have two MAC opponents and a Big Ten trip lined up, that game will almost certainly be a home game and likely against an FCS opponent. In 2022, Cincinnati will host Indiana and play Miami (Ohio) at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, with their Sept. 3 opener still unfilled.

Western Michigan also has a road trip to Notre Dame on the schedule for Sept. 19, 2020, and does not have any other games slated for 2022.

USC AD Lynn Swann explains wins still trump strength of schedule

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
2 Comments

For a long time, college football programs on the west coast have battled to overcome an east coast bias. USC athletics director Lynn Swann says that is still a hurdle USC faces to this day, which is why the Trojans go about trying to build as competitive football schedule as they can.

“Because of time zones, people on the East Coast aren’t really seeing us,” Swann said in a Q&A with The Orange County Register. “We have to play a tougher schedule. If the voters are going to look at four teams to be in the top four, the Pac-12 playing the Pac-12 won’t get it by itself.”

That comment alone could be received as a veiled (or not-so-veiled) shot at the rest of the Pac-12, but it is a fair comment to say, especially after the postseason the Pac-12 as a whole just had this past bowl season (it was… not very good). Swann’s comment though backs up the overall philosophy power conferences and programs within them have taken to heart since the introduction of the College Football Playoff, where strength of schedule is held in high regard and placed on a pedestal above most other factors to determine a playoff contender and separate them from playoff pretenders.

“We have to schedule teams and we have to have that very competitive schedule to be able to get that look,” Swann said. “And we’ve got to win those games. So it’s important to have Texas on the schedule. It’s important that Notre Dame is playing well and we play them and we beat them along the way.”

Scheduling attractive games is great, and it allows for a slightly wider margin for error, but recent history has shown that the strength of schedule does not act alone in getting a team into the playoff as much as actually winning games. The last two seasons have seen one-loss teams without a division championship invited to the College Football Playoff (Ohio State in 2016, Alabama last year). Last year, USC lost two games but won the Pac-12 championship but was largely left out of the conversation that involved Alabama and Ohio State.

“The committee who’s going to vote on this is going to look at strength of schedule. They’re going to look at how you win games,” Swann explained. “They’re going to look at a lot of factors. They’re going to look at the competition inside your conference, outside your conference, all those kind of things. It won’t ever be just one thing.”

USC has yet to play in a College Football Playoff and the 2018 season could be an uphill climb to get there with so many key losses from last season. Regardless, the Trojans continue to be improving with depth and scoring big wins to return to work their way back to the big championship stage.

Florida is opening spring practices to fans

Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images
Leave a comment

What’s one easy way to get fans on board with a new head coach? Invite them to practice.

Florida head coach Dan Mullen wants the doors to be open to fans to come watch the Gators practice during the first two spring practices the Gators will conduct next month. Seats will be limited at the practice field, of course, but Mullen seems optimistic this will help get the energy going for the program from the jump this spring, and that could potentially lead to a good crowd at Florida’s spring game to wrap up the spring practice schedule.

Florida is scheduled to begin their spring football practices on March 16. That practice and the next day will be open to fans to attend practice, which likely will lead to some personal interactions with coaches and players for any fans who take Mullen up on his offer. Florida’s spring game is scheduled for April 14.

Florida fans may be getting a chance to see a hard-working bunch of Gators. Early indications are Florida players are already claiming to be working harder than they have in years in the offseason workout routine.

But it won’t be just the fans that will be given some exclusive first-hand looks at the Gators this spring. Mullen will also look to extend an open invitation to Florida faculty and staff to some spring practices. Those dates are yet to be determined.

Helmet sticker to SEC Country.

Clemson commit wins free Chick-fil-A for a year

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
4 Comments

Who doesn’t love a good meal from Chick-fil-A? Hopefully Clemson commit BT Potter does because he just won free Chick-fil-A for an entire year.

Potter was voted the Chandler Catanzaro Kicker of the Year, and to the victor go the waffle fries. In addition to a $1,000 scholarship, Potter will have a one-year supply of Chick-fil-A meals on the house. That could add up to a lot of chicken sandwiches for the second-ranked kicker in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals.

This wasn’t a contest won by asking for retweets on Twitter, but Potter did have Clemson fans come to his support by stuffing an online ballot box. Maybe Potter can use his Chick-fil-A year-long supply to hand out some milkshakes.

The best part about all this? There doesn’t seem to be any way for the NCAA to come in and ruin the fun, as there are no NCAA violations in play here. Score one for the good guys.

Potter, a native of South Carolina, committed to the Tigers back in June 2017.