Making the morning rounds.
• A football school, at last. Notre Dame receiver Michael Floyd is still a long way from being reinstated on the heels of last month's on-campus arrest for drunken driving ("Mike has so many things on his plate that he has to handle before he can even think about football," coach Brian Kelly said Saturday), but the fact that he remains on the team at all after last week's appearance in front of the school's Office of Residence Life is evidence of a sharp turn in the university's approach to disciplining athletes, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Unlike most articles in this vein, though, the Tribune doesn't take it as a turn for the worse: If anything, Res Life's scorched-earth verdicts against former basketball players Will Yeatman and Joseph Fauria and basketball player Kyle McAlarney — all of whom were booted from school for an entire semester for arguably lesser charges than the trio of alcohol-related offenses on Floyd's record — were evidence of a policy far out of step with the mainstream. As McAlarney wrote the Tribune, the office showed "no compassion, no consideration for me, no feelings whatsoever." Yeatman and his parents also publicly objected to his suspension before his transfer to Maryland.
The lighter touch has come under Rev. Tom Doyle, a former football walk-on who took over as vice president for student affairs last summer. The first football case under Doyle's watch: A marijuana charge against tight end Mike Ragone, who ultimately missed no game time last fall for the same offense that had cost McAlarney his career in 2007. If that's hypocrisy, it's "only relative to the old way of doing things," writes the Tribune's Brian Hamilton, and only in the eye of beholder: "Given the chance to use a pitiless, frostbitten touch on Floyd — one spelled out in a conduct handbook as forgiving as the Code of Hammurabi — Res Life offered a reprieve to someone very good at catching touchdown passes." [Chicago Tribune]
• Another tough break. Georgia offensive lineman Trinton Sturdivant, a regular starter last year after back-to-back ACL injuries in his left knee cost him the entire 2008 and 2009 seasons, may be forced to call it a career after suffering yet another ACL tear during a weekend scrimmage, this time in the right knee. Sturdivant, once a hyped recruit who started as a true freshman in 2007 and appeared to be on his way to an All-SEC career, will be a fifth-year senior in the fall and, under the circumstances, would almost certainly be granted a medical hardship to return for a sixth year in 2012. But even if the NCAA approves, after three season-ending injuries in four years, the doctors may not. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
• One tradition must die so that another can live. The annual Texas-Texas A&M tilt will remain on Thanksgiving night this November, as usual, but it won't mark the end of the Longhorns' schedule: Instead, Texas and Baylor have agreed to move their original October date in Waco to Dec. 3, to give the Big 12 a national television presence (ESPN) on "Championship Saturday." It will be the first time UT has closed the regular season against anyone but A&M since 1994, in the dying days of the old Southwest Conference. "They (TV executives) would have been happy with that (move of UT-A&M)," said Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds. "But I think the conference wanted to work with everybody and make it right for everybody. The A&M game has been tradition, so I think it turned out fine. It's hard to move that A&M game off Thanksgiving." [Austin American-Statesman]
• Get well soon. Northern Illinois linebacker Devon Butler has been upgrade from "critical" to "serious" condition and will apparently survive the gunshot wound he suffered last week in a DeKalb apartment. Butler's uncle spoke to the team before Sunday's spring practice session, where he vowed he would be "going after each one of you" if the Huskies fail to bring back a MAC championship this fall. [Daily Chronicle]
• A Boilermaker is nothing without his hammer. Besides the incredible 67-yard field goal by kicker Carson Wiggs, the highlight of Purdue's spring game was the ceremonial passing of the hammer to the latest incarnation of mascot "Purdue Pete." Officials ordered the makeover last year, in part because the old version apparently frightened the children; his replacement was designed to be "both heroic and approachable," though at least one cheerleader (right) might debate their success on that front.
The new edition also has "a deeper tan to represent more ethnicities" and a full-body suit as opposed to merely a head, allowing females to play what has up to now been all-male role. The New Pete will reportedly lose his trusty sledgehammer, as well, which was deemed "too violent" for a mascot — even for a Boilermaker mascot? — but did have the hammer en tow for his debut. [Lafayette Journal and Courier, PurdueSports.com, Purdue Exponent]
Quickly… The Orange Bowl picked an unfortunate time to give its CEO a major salary bump. … Louisiana-Monroe is asking its students to dig a little deeper for sports. … USC fans are shocked, shocked that receiver Markeith Ambles failed to show for Saturday's scrimmage. … Ohio State's retooled defense stinks it up at Saturday's scrimmage. … Auburn's defense wins the day. … Tyler Hansen looked good Saturday in the absence of you-know-who. … Coveted quarterback prospect Zeke Pike gets reportedly ejected from a 7-on-7 tournament for throwing a ball at a ref. … And West Virginia games are about to get even more interesting.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.