Housing issue’ may sideline WR Shepard

LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard is awaiting the disposition of a compliance issue that could jeopardize his eligibility.

Shepard, who has been practicing with the team since the start of preseason camp last week, said he expects a resolution before the Sept. 3 season opener against Oregon.

Addressing the issue publicly for the first time at Media Day on Tuesday, Shepard confirmed that he’s dealing with “a housing issue” that arose just before he was scheduled to accompany coach Les Miles and two teammates to Southeastern Conference Media Days last month.

Shepard was removed from the trip to attend to “personal business.”

“I had (the LSU compliance office) come to me, and they realized there was a problem,” Shepard said. “It’s something that just popped up out of nowhere and the next thing you know there’s all this type of mayhem.

“They talked to me and got all the information that they wanted to get out of me.”

Shepard said the situation is out of his hands, and he’s just waiting for a ruling.

“Our compliance is doing the best job in trying to get this problem solved before the first game,” he said.

“Our compliance protects us, and they let us know when a problem occurs that they’re going to get it fixed. I have all the faith in the world that they’re going to do the best thing to handle it.”

Shepard said, he has “talked to several different people” in the gathering of information. When asked if he had spoken with anyone from the NCAA, Shepard said, “I can’t reveal that at this point in time.”

When asked if the worst-case scenario could be a long-term ineligibility, Shepard said, “I don’t think it would ever get that serious, but the NCAA has a job and their job is to protect athletes as well as the universities and they’re going to do the best possible thing for the NCAA and college football.”

Shepard said he’s been told “everything’s looking pretty good and it’s going to be a pretty good solution when it’s all said and done.”

In the meantime, Shepard continues to work with the starting offense to prepare for a season in which he is expected to be one of the Tigers’ top playmakers.

“I was just told to focus on football,” Shepard said. “My thing is to go out and catch as many balls and help this team win as many games as possible.

Shepard, who caught 33 passes as a sophomore last season, said this has been “a humbling experience.”

“It has shown me that this game doesn’t last forever,” Shepard said.

“At any point in time this game can be taken away from you. It’s helping me realize that I’m blessed playing college football and take every day like it’s my last.

“At the end of the day it’s going to end up being a blessing for me. It teaches me how to deal with adversity, it teaches me how to become a young man, and throughout my life I’ve been blessed to not go through a lot of things. This is something that’s going to help me become a better individual.”