LSU announced on Friday the dismissal of junior cornerback, and 2011 Heisman finalist, Tyrann Mathieu for repeated violations of “team rules.” Les Miles would not specify which team rules had been broken because of student-athlete privacy laws, but reports have leaked that the dismissal is due to repeated failed drug tests for marijuana. Immediately following the announcement, Mathieu was linked to a number of FCS schools to transfer to and play this season without sitting out for the year. However, Mathieu has reportedly had a change of heart and is considering staying in Baton Rouge as a student, paying his own way, and earning back the trust of Miles to earn a spot back with the team. An admirable goal, but is it even an option?
During his press conference on Friday when he announced the decision, Miles responded to a question about whether or not the playmaker’s dismissal would be permanent by saying: “Yeah, he will not be back.” Miles continued to say that the school had stretched itself “personally and professionally,” and had gone “to the full length of the policy,” for Mathieu. The coach sounded like a man that was out of second chances to give.
The school seems to be echoing these sentiments. In a phone interview Monday with USA Today, LSU senior associate athletic director for NCAA compliance Bo Bahnsen shared the same message. “He’s permanently ineligible to play football at LSU,” Bahnsen said, backing coach Miles’ statement from Friday. The language Bahnsen used matches the LSU substance abuse policy, under “Third Violation,” which states: “If institutional drug testing reveals the existence of drugs at any time, permanent ineligibility to participate at LSU will result.” Mathieu served a one-game suspension last season for a second failed drug test for a synthetic marijuana, making this the Honey Badger‘s third and final strike.
The school administration does not seem keen on making any exceptions to their policy anytime soon, not even for the defending Bednarik Award winner. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva spoke in absolute terms when discussing Mathieu’s status on Friday. “The policy is written policy. Being an athlete is a privilege…Unfortunately, he doesn’t have that privilege here anymore…right now at LSU, his opportunity is taken away for good.” Officially, the school has said it will not comment or speculate on Mathieu’s future football possibilities, but the language coming from LSU officials doesn’t hold much hope for reinstatement.
So while Mathieu tries to figure out what he’ll do next, it sounds like the door to redemption with the Tigers is sealed shut. He’s visited with McNeese State already and has a planned visit to Jackson State coming soon, but nothing about this situation is sitting well with the 20-year old. Reports are that Tyrann has been emotional about his dismissal. He’ll never get the feeling of playing in Death Valley again, no matter which FCS school he decides to go to. No more Heisman hopes, no more Brent Musburger fawning over his abilities as he calls his games, and his NFL dreams have taken a major hit as well. The Honey Badger should have cared because now it’s just too late.
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