The rumors and whispers surrounding the academic status of several of No. 1 LSU's players -- most notably quarterback Jarrett Lee, as reported by CBSSports.com LSU RapidReporter Glenn Guilbeau-- reached the point that Les Miles was forced to address them Monday saying they're an annual issue at every school.
"This time of year everybody responds and comes back," he said. not referring to Lee (or any player) specifically. "It's time to pick it up. There's no difference with our football team. Academic issues are private in my mind."
While federal law mandates that that's the case, that statement wasn't likely to douse the brush fires of speculation that Lee and others could miss the BCS national title game. So LSU athletic director Joe Alleva went further on the offensive Wednesday afternoon, releasing a statement that noted that it's not possible for players to be declared ineligible when the semester hasn't even finished yet. The statement in full:
“Despite media and message board speculation, no LSU student-athletes have been declared ineligible for post-season competition. The current semester is not complete and finals are still ahead, so it is grossly unfair to our student-athletes and it is both premature and irresponsible to speculate on the final grades and postseason eligibility of our student-athletes.”Maybe so. But until the semester is completed and Lee and every other Tiger is declared eligible -- and we don't believe our colleague Mr. Guilbeau would drop Lee's name in this report lightly -- this will still be a development worth watching. It may not be fair, but that kind of scrutiny is also part of the territory that comes with being the No. 1 team in the nation and the national title favorite.