In the words of Lee Corso, not so fast my friends. Maybe.
Dismissed by LSU for violated unspecified team/school policies, All-American cornerback/punt returner Tyrann Mathieu was thought to be headed to the FCS level — McNeese State specifically — and play the 2012 season before (likely) becoming an early entrant in the 2013 NFL draft.
While that may still ultimately be the case, the Honey Badger is looking for forgiveness and another shot with his former school.
Citing unnamed sources, ESPN.com‘s Joe Schad is reporting that Mathieu has an interest in sitting out the 2012 season and returning to the Tigers football team in 2013. Those close to the player said that Mathieu “is interested in working on his maturity and character.”
And it’s not just Mathieu, who sources described to Schad as “heartbroken” and “grieving” over the dismissal, who is thinking of a potential return.
As Schad writes, “[t]he possibility of future reinstatement would have to be approved at many levels, including university administration and head coach Les Miles.” Discussions on at least a couple of those levels have already taken place.
It’s been speculated and reported on that Mathieu’s dismissal was the result of “repeated violations of LSU’s substance abuse policy for athletes.” According to the school’s policy, a third failed drug test results in “a one-year suspension from all athletic related activities (team practices, weight room, team running, etc…)” and a “one-year suspension from competition.”
The policy goes on to state that “[r]einstatement after the one-year period is with the support of the ADAP [athletic department] treatment team and Athletic Director and at the request of the Head Coach, dependent upon negative drug screen.”
Additionally, and if Mathieu were to be reinstated, the policy reads that other conditions could be placed on the player’s return, including the “loss of scholarship, game suspension, etc.” If a reinstated athlete were to be subsequently tested and the result “reveals the existence of drugs at any time, an automatic positive test will be issued and Permanent Ineligibility to participate at LSU will result.”
In other words, it would be one strike and he’s out at LSU. Provided reinstatement is even a realistic possibility, of course.
“Yeah, [Mathieu] will not be back,” Miles said Friday when asked if the dismissal was permanent.
UPDATED 3:07 p.m. ET: A source close to Mathieu has disputed Schad’s report, telling the New Orleans Times-Picayune that a return to LSU “would not be happening.” The source went on to tell the paper that Mathieu hopes to have a transfer decision made by Wednesday, and that, right now, McNeese State is the only viable option.
Mathieu visited the FCS school over the weekend.