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Honey Badger’s Potential Violations May Force Quick Decision

Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel and Thayer Evans have a cover story on Tyrann Mathieu, who was dismissed from LSU’s football team but may return next year. But there are potential NCAA violations that may stand in his way:

Several of the Era Nation videos promote events at a Baton Rouge club called The Palace. One in particular encourages viewers to attend an Era Nation party at the club on March 10, 2012. Mathieu appears in the video, and an event promoter says “the whole LSU football team” will be there.

The article includes other reports of Mathieu possibly engaging in impermissible promotional activities. As the compliance professional quoted in the story says, any penalty would depend on how many of these videos or appearances are commercial promotions and whether Mathieu received any compensation or extra benefits.

The more immediate issue is that Mathieu’s return to the LSU team may now include a long and complex reinstatement case with the NCAA. Gathering information takes time, especially from individuals not covered by NCAA rules. It could take a couple of months for LSU to complete the case documentation, plus another few weeks for the NCAA to make a decision. Throw in the possibility of an appeal and things could take even longer.

That means LSU needs to decide as soon as possible whether Mathieu will be reinstated. A case like this cannot be started after summer school, for instance, and it be assured that a final decision will be made before the season. At the very least, LSU would need to decide what conditions Mathieu needs to meet to rejoin the team, and begin working on his case as long as he holds up his end of the bargain.

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