Despite his third alcohol-related citation since 2009, it appears that Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd is going to avoid any serious punishment from the school and is expected to be available for the Irish’s season opener against South Florida.
The ruling from Notre Dame’s Office of Residence Life breaks with past decisions in which football players have nearly lost entire seasons after alcohol related incidents. Irish Illustrated was the first with the story.
The fact Notre Dame did not suspend Floyd marks a departure from past precedents within the restructured Office of Residence Life. When Will Yeatman committed his second alcohol-related offense in September of 2008, he was suspended for the season and ultimately transferred. Rashon Powers-Neal was suspended for the balance of the 2005 season after a DUI charge, ending his Irish career.
Why the school’s disciplinary wing would decide that somehow Floyd’s history doesn’t merit as strong a punishment is both bewildering and appalling. Floyd isn’t totally off the hook. The senior wide receiver still has to go through the legal system and has been ordered to perform community service. Head coach Brian Kelly still has the option to punish Floyd further and so far hasn’t commented on what plans he has for the wideout. But judging from his less-than-fully-cooperative cooperation with investigators regarding the death of former videographer Declan Sullivan, I wouldn’t hold my breath that Floyd will face any extra discipline.
Last season, Floyd was far and away Notre Dame’s leading receiver, catching 79 passes, for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns. If the Irish hope to make a BCS bowl game for the first time since 2007, they’ll need him on the field. So Kelly currently stands at a crossroads. He can either stay true to the supposed ideal that he is an educator and leader of men…or he can try to win football games. Considering the news out of college football recently, the idea that he would intentionally sacrifice his career success to save his program’s reputation rather than hide behind the specious decision of a secondary university office is laughable.
Kelly still has a chance to make things right if he decides to levy further punishment on Floyd. The season opener isn’t until September 3rd. The clock is ticking. Hopefully he makes the right call.