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Headlinin’: Housing snafu lands Russell Shepard in NCAA limbo

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

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Making the morning rounds.

One thing after another. LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard, a former all-universe recruit in line for a breakout season as a junior, is reportedly facing eligibility issues over an off-campus housing arrangement that may have violated NCAA rules. According to Tiger Sports Digest, Shepard moved off campus for the first time this spring with a girlfriend, who is also an employee of LSU's athletic department, and the payment arrangement they set up "may have been out of compliance with NCAA rules regulating how much money student-athletes receive and how they are supposed to spend it."

LSU quickly shot down rumors of a suspension last week when Shepard failed to show for his scheduled rounds at SEC media days, but he could still face a short-term suspension from the school or the NCAA to start the season — possibly helping to offset the suspension of Oregon's best cornerback, Cliff Harris, in the season opener. [ESPN, Tiger Sports Digest]

Bear down. Baylor receiver Josh "Flash" Gordon, a full-time starter with a certain NFL future, has been suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Gordon was a key part of the Bears' offensive revival as a sophomore, finishing second on the team in yards and receptions with seven touchdowns, including a 94-yard screen pass against Kansas that stands as the longest play in Baylor history. [Associated Press]

Frost on ice? Auburn signee Kris Frost, a five-star linebacker rated by Rivals as the No. 1 incoming prospect from the state of North Carolina, may be forced to redshirt this fall after reportedly suffering a shoulder injury in a weightlifting accident last week. Frost was expected to contribute immediately to a rebuilding Tiger defense, but reported to his Twitter and Facebook accounts over the weekend that he's scheduled for surgery on Tuesday. [Opelika-Auburn News, al.com]{YSP:MORE}

On the mend. In good news, Oregon State wide receiver/return man James Rodgers tweeted last week that he's started running pass routes in his native Texas, increasing hopes that the all-purpose dynamo might return for his final season of eligibility. Rodgers has already won a medical hardship after tearing up his knee last October, but sat out spring practice and remains in serious doubt for the fall. [The Oregonian]

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The Rap Sheet. Tennessee linebacker Austin Johnson, 22, was arrested in the wee hours Sunday morning on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct. He was released on $1,000 Sunday afternoon. Johnson, a fifth-year senior who spent his first two years on campus at fullback, is projected to start for the first time this fall at either middle linebacker, where he spent the spring, or outside linebacker, where returning starter Herman Lathers is expected to miss a good chunk of the season recovering from a fractured ankle. [Knoxville News-Sentinel]

Nothing to see here. Those potentially incriminating photos of Alabama running back Trent Richardson signing jerseys in a local apparel store that started making the rounds late last week? Alabama is way ahead of you: A university spokesman said 'Bama compliance was aware of the issue last December, determined no Crimson Tide players had violated SEC or NCAA rules and sent out cease-and-desist letters asking businesses to stop the sale or distribution of autographed merchandise because it could "jeopardize the student-athlete's eligibility," fulfilling the university's obligation under NCAA bylaws to take action once it's aware of a potential violation. Move it along… [al.com, TideSports.com]

Quickly… UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway may be on his way out, to the delight of a certain booster. … Oklahoma State is losing its second backup quarterback in a little under a week. … North Texas picks up a transfer from Oklahoma. … Oregon's athletic director updates the constituents on the Willie Lyles Affair. … The Ducks may be counting on a few freshman receivers right away. … Jedd Fisch swears Miami's quarterbacks will cut down on the interceptions. … Having already cajoled one colossal institution into action, Tommy Tuberville calls on the NCAA to start repossessing revenue from schools that violate rules. … E.J. Manuel will never read this. … And not everyone in Ohio is so relieved that Jim Tressel is going to carry the weight.

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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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