On3’s JD PicKell slams NCAA’s suspension of Maason Smith

LSU will be without a key player on defense in the season opener against Florida State.

Defensive tackle Maason Smith, who is returning to the field after tearing his ACL in last year’s opener, will be suspended for one game for reportedly receiving improper benefits at a July 2021 autograph signing.

The decision from the NCAA to suspend Smith for actions that would be made legal just weeks later by the advent of name, image and likeness benefits has been controversial, to say the least.

On3’s JD PicKell is one figure in the media who has been critical of the decision.

“This, to me, I don’t understand it,” PicKell said, per On3. “I don’t understand it. I think it is lacking common sense. I think we’re thinking about this the wrong way and I wish we would just think a little bit less hard about things like this.

“If you want to punish him some other way, sure. Let’s figure that out. Make him give that money to a charity of his choice. That feels a little more common sense. But we’re suspending him for one of the biggest games of the season for LSU because he signed autographs before the season when everybody and their mama in college football is able to sign autographs and profit from it (now)? Let’s use common sense here, y’all.”

PicKell went on to elaborate that Smith’s alleged misconduct didn’t provide a competitive advantage, nor was it used as a recruiting inducement.

“So for Maason Smith, big loss for LSU because of what he could have done for the game,” PicKell said. “Impermissible benefit in NIL? Let’s figure it out a little bit here. Don’t like it.

“Common sense is a beautiful thing. Common sense allows us to adapt to our circumstances. The circumstances here have changed, we should adapt accordingly to them, in my humble opinion right now. Also this is not something where it’s like a recruiting violation. It wasn’t like Maason Smith was thinking about maybe coming to LSU and some guy met him in the back alley and said, ‘Maason, you come sign these autographs, we’ll get you paid, maybe you think about coming to LSU.’ He was already a player at LSU.

“This isn’t like a competitive advantage. He wasn’t trading autographs for game tape on Florida State. This doesn’t give LSU any better of a chance or worse of a chance if he signs autographs. Right? Also nobody got hurt. There’s no physical harm being done to anybody.”

Without Smith available in the opener, the Tigers will look to veteran Jacobian Guillory and West Virginia transfer Jordan Jefferson to pick up the slack and lineup on the interior with Mekhi Wingo.

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Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire