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Owens: Football – University still deciding Floyd’s fate

Andrew Owens | Thursday, April 7, 2011

Since the morning of March 20, when junior receiver Michael Floyd was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, there have been two main schools of thought on the incident and his subsequent punishment.

One group wants the future NFL talent to face virtually no suspension because they are concerned about what the team’s record would be without him. The other camp wants to see the University make an example out of Floyd and end his collegiate football career, in order to put a muzzle on Notre Dame’s critics who argue that athletes are not held to the same standard as the rest of the student body. But what about Floyd — no one seems to have his best interests at heart.

Behind the 6-foot-3, 227 lbs. frame that has had professional scouts drooling for years now, is a young man who made a mistake. A big one. And it was not his first.

But what good does it do to cut him loose and suspend him for the entire 2011 season? Not to speculate what Floyd would do if that turns out to be his punishment, but there is a strong possibility that he would opt for the NFL Supplemental Draft, rather than finishing his degree and hurting his draft stock by sitting out a year. It is important for Floyd’s recovery process that both academics and athletics are readily available and continue to be a part of his future. Why put him into a corner and make him break the promise he made to his mother that he would get a degree before moving on?

Irish coach Brian Kelly said last week that Floyd has shown remorse and realizes he needs to seek help.

“He’s already taken definitive action,” he said. “I’m not going to get into his personal life, but I think you can read between the lines. He’s already reached out to make that happen in a very positive way. He understands that he needs to be educated, and he’s started that process.”

Some will say Floyd has only taken action in order to lessen the blow from the Office of Residential Life. Maybe that’s true. But the point is, he is seeking help. Hopefully that help, whatever form it is coming in, will get Floyd back on the right track.

Kelly seems to be giving Floyd the support he needs during this time, while using the incident as a learning tool for the rest of the team.

“It’s college and we want kids to make good decisions,” Kelly said. “Alcohol never seems to be a conduit for good decisions. As a football coach and somebody in college athletics, I think we all look at it the same way.”

So, before making a judgment on what Floyd’s punishment should be, think about the remorseful receiver and what this decision means for his future.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Andrew Owens at aowens2@nd.edu