College football was rocked on Friday afternoon when LSU announced that Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the football program.
Or at least so it seemed.
According to ESPN.com, Mathieu was dismissed from the team and suspended for the season, but not dismissed by the university following failed drug tests. Plural.
That he wasn't dismissed from the university leaves the option open for Mathieu to sit out this season, stay in school and return to the Tigers for the 2013 season. That is something that Mathieu is interested in, according to the report. That reinstatement would have to be approved on a lot of levels.
While the option may be there, Mathieu suiting up for the Tigers in 2013 is about as likely as me suiting up for the LSU Tigers in 2013.
Idle hands are the devil's playground. If Mathieu can't pass drug tests while he's a member of the football program, it's not likely that he will be able to do it for 365 days while he's not a part of the program.
That's not to say that it's impossible. Let's hope he gets back on the right track wherever he goes. But one year off essentially creates a year-and-a-half offseason. That's a lot of time to kill.
But that, combined with the fact that he is draft eligible after the 2012 football season, makes it very unlikely that he suits up for any college team in 2013—including LSU.
Mathieu's ability as a cover cornerback is up for debate. Alabama picked on him during the BCS National Championship Game, and pass coverage was something that he vowed to work on before being dismissed from the LSU football program.
But there's no denying his impact on the football field.
The cliche that "big-time players make big-time plays in big games" is old and tired, but it's absolutely applicable in Mathieu's case. His play on special teams shifted momentum in big games versus Oregon, Arkansas and Georgia last season, and that's a trait that is in demand in the NFL, whether he's a top-tier cover cornerback or not.
I'll believe he returns to LSU when I see it.
While Mathieu may be interested in returning to LSU, the substance-abuse policy may present another hurdle for the Honey Badger, according to Glenn Guilbeau, LSU beat writer for Gannett.
MATHIEU UPDATE:LSU substance abuse policy says"permanent ineligibility," concerning Badger. Miles said Friday, he's off team "permanently."— Glenn Guilbeau (@LSUBeatTweet) August 13, 2012
Update No. 2
If reinstatement is a possibility, it certainly didn't seem like on during the press conference announcing his dismissal from LSU on Friday, according to Guilbeau.
LSU AD JOE ALLEVA ON TYRANN MATHIEU FRIDAY:"Being an athlete is a privilege, and unfortunately he doesn't have that privilege here anymore."— Glenn Guilbeau (@LSUBeatTweet) August 13, 2012
If that wasn't enough, Alleva wasn't finished.
MORE JOE ALLEVA ON TYRANN MATHIEU'S PERMANENT DISMISSAL: "At LSU, his opportunity is taken away for good."— Glenn Guilbeau (@LSUBeatTweet) August 13, 2012
That should close the door on the possibility.