Tyrann Mathieu’s football future seems to be getting cloudier by the day.
Just hours after being dismissed from the LSU team last Friday for violating team and university policy, Mathieu arrived in Lake Charles to visit with McNeese State coach Matt Viator about possibly transferring there and playing for the Cowboys this season.
Mathieu left Lake Charles without giving Viator an answer, and sources said Mathieu, whose athletic scholarship was revoked when he was dismissed, reached out to LSU officials on Monday about possibly returning to school and paying his own way.
On Wednesday, classes began at McNeese, and there was no sign of Mathieu as Viator and the Cowboys continued preparations for their season opener Aug. 30 at Middle Tennessee State.
“I don’t have a clue,” Viator said Wednesday when asked if he had any idea what Mathieu’s plans were. “We’ve been in camp and going through two-a-days. I’ve heard a lot of things, but I really don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t know anybody that does know.”
Viator said he’s still interested in having Mathieu join his football team, though he added that he can’t wait indefinitely for him.
Prairie View coach Heishma Northern said he doesn’t know what’s going on, either. Northern, whose younger brother Gabe played at LSU, said Wednesday night that he’s interested in having Mathieu join his program, but that LSU denied his request to make contact with the player.
“We’re in a wait-and-see mode just like
everybody else,” Northern said. “It’s kind of like six degrees of separation. I understand he’s trying to make a decision. Everything was going 100 miles an hour. Now it looks like he’s slowing things down.”
It appears Mathieu doesn’t know what his next move will be. If he were to enroll at LSU, which begins classes Monday, it would be in hopes of being reinstated to the team for the 2013 season, but it’s uncertain if that would be realistic or even possible.
School officials have not addressed the possibility of Mathieu returning to the football team. LSU has not specified what policy Mathieu violated, but various media reports, citing unnamed sources, have said he was dismissed for failing multiple drug tests.
Mathieu was held out of a game against Auburn last season for another unspecified violation of team and university policy, which was also reported to be a failed drug test. A one-game suspension is consistent with the prescribed penalty for a second failed drug test.
LSU associate vice chancellor for university relations Herb Vincent said Tigers coach Les Miles spoke with Mathieu by telephone on Tuesday, but denied a report that Miles had encouraged Mathieu to pursue his future somewhere other than LSU.
Miles told reporters Tuesday that he wanted what was best for Mathieu, but said he was focused on getting the Tigers ready for their season opener against North Texas on Sept. 1 in Tiger Stadium. He reiterated that Mathieu will not be on the Tigers in 2012.
“That’s a fact,” Miles said, adding he was “rooting” for Mathieu, but he wouldn’t speculate on the All-America cornerback’s future beyond 2012..
Vincent said about 20 schools have gone through proper channels in seeking the university’s permission to speak with Mathieu, who has two years of eligibility remaining, about transferring. He added that the university has granted permission to schools that Mathieu had approved, but didn’t know which schools those were, except for McNeese.
But the Cowboys and other suitors are still waiting to hear from a player who was a Heisman Trophy finalist and winner of the Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player a year ago.