A once quiet weekend on the Palouse has turned into anything but for Mike Leach and company.
Washington State suffered a massive early blow to the Cougars’ hopes in 2019 as the school confirmed on Saturday afternoon that starting safety Jalen Thompson was shockingly headed to the pros after being declared ineligible for the upcoming season for violating NCAA rules.
“Washington State University safety Jalen Thompson will not return for his senior season after losing his final year of eligibility due to a violation of NCAA rules. Thompson has entered the NFL Supplemental Draft set for later next month,” a school statement said rather plainly.
There was no further comment from the Cougars nor Leach.
Thompson was widely expected to be Wazzu’s leader on defense this season after starting all 39 games the past three seasons. While he initially considered leaving school early, he wanted to return for his senior year which, unfortunately for him, was just cut short.
The reason for Thompson’s NCAA violation wasn’t confirmed by the school but a source told The Spokesman-Review that it “stems from the purchase of an over-the-counter supplement at a local nutrition store, although the source made a point to emphasize it was not a steroid.”
As many learned right before the College Football Playoff this past season thanks to Clemson, players lose a full season of eligibility if they’re found violating the NCAA’s banned substance list.
Thompson will finish his career in Pullman with 191 tackles and six interceptions as he will head to the NFL after likely being selected at some point during early July’s supplemental draft. The Cougars will have to hope that junior college transfer Bryce Beekman can help fill some of the void left behind this upcoming season with the program returning just two starters in the secondary now from last year’s 11 win campaign.