Last Modified: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 8:09 PM
More than 8,000 students may trek through McNeese State’s campus on this first day of fall semester classes, but all eyes, it seems, have turned toward only one of them: Tyrann Mathieu.
Mathieu, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, was sent packing by the LSU football program last week for breaking team rules. Reportedly, those rules pertain to drug-related infractions. The Honey Badger, it seems, takes what he wants, despite frequent testing for substance abuse. That’s been the problem.
The availability of such a big time football star for McNeese’s program has some local football enthusiasts’ hearts racing. After all, Mathieu would be immediately eligible to put his defensive and punt returning skills to use for the Cowboys. Coming off a 6-5 season, McNeese could use such a spark, fans might argue.
But there is much more to McNeese State on this important day than the possibility of one troubled football talent showing up on campus. There are more than 8,000 students, many of whom are doing the right things to get an education. Many McNeese students are working hard for their tuition money, scraping together scant resources to meet the rent or buy food. They go to class, obey the rules, participate in worthy causes, do their assignments. Nobody cheers them on for trying their daily best.
While Tyrann Mathieu ponders whether McNeese is just the right vehicle to take him to the pros, other McNeese students have more mundane concerns: parking, schedules, work-study jobs, assignments. One might appreciate Mathieu’s many considerations as he picks his next football program, but come the first day of classes, there are plenty of other students who have their own concerns. For them, McNeese is most certainly the right vehicle to take them to their desired careers.
Small wonder, then, that on Tuesday afternoon, McNeese administrators were dealing with myriad issues other than where the Honey Badger might next roam. They were dealing with late registration. They were worried about a shortage of parking spaces. (Get there early, park at the stadium is the best advice.) In the face of a tough economy and with rising admission standards, they were hoping for stable enrollment. If Tyrann Mathieu registers, well, that’s one more classroom seat filled. Good deal.
Well-meaning people may wish Mathieu the best as he works through his personal decisions. They may wish for him the best as he takes on his studies, and perhaps as he straightens himself out. They may wish those things whether he registers for classes here or not. After all, he’s only 20.
But the administration, faculty, staff and fans at McNeese have reasons other than Mathieu to cheer as school opens.
More than 8,000 of them.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.