What must already be one of the longest weeks of Les Miles' coaching career is getting even longer.
The "compliance issue" which threatened the eligibility of star receiver Russell Shepard will result in his suspension for the opener against Oregon and "a number of games" more, LSU has announced. Thanks to Shepard having spoken with a teammate about that teammate's meeting with NCAA officials prior to the meeting, he has been ruled ineligible.
LSU stated they would apply to have Shepard reinstated and his eligibility restored, but there is no current timetable for a ruling on that application.
A former five-star recruit, Shepard has yet to fulfill his substantial pre-arrival hype in Baton Rouge, but the versatile athlete still finished 2010 LSU's third-leading receiver and fourth-leading rusher. (If there's any silver lining to Thursday's news for the Tigers, it's that the Ducks will be missing the suspended Cliff Harris; as Chris "Heismanpundit" Huston put it on Twitter, "Oregon will not have its best corner available to cover LSU's best suspended receiver.")
Still, if Shepard's suspension is followed up with further trouble for Jordan Jefferson, the Tiger offense -- never the team's strong suit -- will enter the Oregon match-up beyond shorthanded.
The full text of LSU's statement is below:
LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard has been declared ineligible by LSU for violation of an NCAA rule, it was announced Thursday.
LSU will seek reinstatement for Shepard but he is expected to miss a number of games until the reinstatement can be considered by the NCAA. He can continue to practice with the team.
Shepard has been found by the NCAA and LSU to be in violation of Bylaw 32.1.4. Shepard was determined to have discussed an NCAA inquiry with a teammate who was scheduled to meet with an NCAA representative and his actions were deemed to have violated NCAA protocol.
No timeline has been determined for the reinstatement process.