Late yesterday afternoon South Bend Tribune writer Eric Hansen published a story about Michael Floyd and his current situation with the football team.
There were whispers around the community that Floyd would be rejoining his teammates for summer workouts at some point, although the specter of games missed still loomed large.
Now, Brian Kelly has made the picture a little clearer with some comments from the Hansen article:
"We’re looking at Mike as an ‘all in or not’ situation. 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.
He had a number of things he had to take care of, and he’s checking off the boxes. But he’s got a number that are still out there.
One that he did get past this spring was his academics. He had to have a specific GPA, and he did. He’s got some community service stuff he’s still got to do for Res Life. He’s got court coming up on June 7, and he’s got to pass that.
There’s no gray area anymore.
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.
Having said this, I’m very optimistic. I’m not going to paint a bleak picture. He’s done some things, that I can’t get into relative to changing his life, in which reports back from professionals are really optimistic. But he’s got to handle all these things before we start thinking about playing in the fall.
It’s like anything else. If you pull yourself out of your social environment and it isolates you, you have a better chance of not being able to stick to that change. He’ll be living on campus, though, in the fall, in a dorm.
I’m not trying to be an AA counselor here, but he has got to be around the right people too if he’s going to change his life for good."
Certainly these are some interesting comments. I won't spend too much time on this topic mostly because it's not as fun as say, breaking down the quarterback battle, but there are some things that need to be addressed.
First, I really like this approach that Kelly is using.
He certainly could have taken the easy road in this situation, suspended Floyd for some spring practices and maybe announced months in advance that he wouldn't play in the season opener.
But this plan of rehabilitation (and essentially redemption) for Floyd, with the threat of never playing for Notre Dame again if there is a screw up, is a great balancing act on Kelly's part.
Kelly said that simply missing a couple games amounts to a slap on the wrist, but should Floyd be subject to all of these new life goals plus game suspensions too?
I can understand why sitting Floyd for at least a game could be a proper punishment, even on top of the battles he's fighting right now off the field.
But when there's a clear focus on his life and future as a person (and Notre Dame graduate), added to the threat of never putting on a gold helmet again, well I think this is an appropriate course of action and missing games doesn't automatically have to be part of the punishment up front.
Are you satisfied with how Brian Kelly is handling this situation?