May 24, 2011
When Michael Floyd survived his brush with Notre Dame's notorious disciplinary council last month, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Irish's most lethal offensive weapon would be back to terrorizing opposing secondaries this fall. And it probably still is — just as soon as coach Brian Kelly agrees to life the indefinite suspension he slapped on Floyd in the wake of an early morning drunk driving arrest by campus police in March, Floyd's third alcohol-related offense in as many years.
And Kelly's still insisting he's not going to give his ground that easily just to get his best player back:
"We're looking at Mike as an 'all in or not' situation," Kelly told the South Bend Tribune. "In other words, he's changing his life or he's not. If he changes the way he's lived his life, he'll play every game for us. If he doesn't, he won't play one down here at Notre Dame.
"He is at that level. This is not, 'I'm going to slap you on the hand and sit you for two games' — because I don't want to read about him in a year, where it says, 'Ex-Notre Dame player arrested for X-Y-Z.' That will be a failing on my part if that happens."
"There's no gray area anymore," Kelly said. "There just can't be. Too many times it's been, 'I'll change.' Look, you're parenting a young man whose close to being a teenager. As much as it hurts to say, 'He's done at Notre Dame,' if he doesn't change his life, he's done at Notre Dame. he's not going to play here."
That said, Kelly remains "optimistic" as Floyd continues "checking off the boxes" to a return: He's cleared the bar Kelly set for him academically ("He had to have a specific GPA, and he did") and seems to be making progress in counseling ("Reports back from professionals are really optimistic"). Next up: "Some community service stuff" mandated by the Res Life office and a court date on June 7, if he doesn't offer a guilty plea to avoid trial in the meantime.
All well and good, part of the proverbial process, etc., but really only brings us back to the same assumption: Barring another arrest or similarly colossal screw up that diverts him from the pre-approved path to righteousness, Floyd should be back in the fold by the start of preseason practice in late July, and — further assuming that "all-in or all-out" means he won't face any further suspensions once he is reinstated — in the lineup for the opener against South Florida. As long as he's smart enough to stay sober and his lawyers are smart enough to keep him from facing the possible (though unlikely) jail sentence that comes with the latest drunk driving charge, the path remains clear for a Floyd-ful fall.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.