Without football on Saturdays, issues – mostly negative – away from the gridiron have dominated the offseason in Baton Rouge.
On Thursday junior wide receiver Russell Shepard was the center of attention after word surfaced that the third-year Tiger has been suspended indefinitely and will not dress out for the team’s season opener against Oregon on Sept. 3.
“Russell Shepard has run afoul of some NCAA regulations,” Miles said. “I can only tell you the things that were done there were innocent. They were issues of protocol, but they’re serious enough to warrant him being not eligible.
“We’ll seek reinstatement and see if that goes well.”
In a story by New Orleans-based Associated Press reporter Bret Martel, the NCAA investigation was loosely tied to LSU’s relationship with scouting service owner Willie Lyles.
Multiple sources told TigerSportsDigest.com that while the investigation began with the Lyles incident, the conversation had gone in a new direction with Shepard violating NCAA Bylaw 32.1.4.
According to a press release from LSU’s Media Relations Department, it was determined that Shepard discussed an NCAA inquiry with a teammate who was scheduled to meet with an NCAA representative.
“This is, again, a protocol issue,” Miles said. “This issue was a non-descript interview with an NCAA person about a series of issues, and it was there that he answered honestly.
“But again he ran afoul of protocol and that was the violation.”
Asked if Shepard would have to repay any money as a result of the off-campus housing issue that arose in late June, Miles said Shepard was in the clear.
“There is no extra benefit,” Miles said. “There is no repaying of any extra benefit that didn’t occur.
“As far as I know there’s really no original issue.”
Shepard won’t play against Oregon, but Miles said that’s the extent that he knows at this point.
Now, the timeline is passed on to the NCAA.
“We would hope that we would know the specifics in the next 10 days-2 weeks,” Miles said.
“He could be ineligible for some period of time and really with response with how the NCAA saw the violation.”
Shepard played in 13 games with nine starts as a sophomore. He ranked second on the team with 33 catches for 254 yards and a touchdown, and he finished fourth in rushing with 226 yards and two touchdowns.
Expected to be LSU’s second receiving option behind Rueben Randle, first-year offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa will likely be forced to move through the opening month of the season without the former five-star prospect, an unexpected hamstring for the LSU staff’s plans on the offensive side of the ball.
“Any penalty is going to be a very severe one, period,” Miles said. “Any withholding of play will be a very, very strong penalty.”