When LSU takes the field for its season opener against Florida State, the Tigers will be without one of their best defensive players. The NCAA suspended defensive tackle Maason Smith for the game because he allegedly took part in an autograph signing before NIL went live, therefore receiving an “impermissible benefit.”
Under current rules, the signing would have been legal. That’s why On3’s Andy Staples blasted the NCAA for its decision suspend Smith two years later.
Smith and Kayshon Boutte both participated in the signing, which likely occurred just before the NCAA adopted its interim NIL legislation on July 1, 2021. Boutte served his suspension last year, but Smith couldn’t because he got hurt. As a result, he’s out for the first game of this season.
“Maason Smith, defensive tackle for LSU, is going to miss the Florida State game,” Staples said on Andy Staples On3. “Why? Because he participated in an autograph signing session for money. I know what you’re saying. That’s legal now. That’s within the NCAA rules. But apparently, he and Kayshon Boutte were involved in one of these autograph sessions before NIL launched in July 2021. I guess they were caught doing this because something went sideways with the person they were doing it with. Very similar to the Todd Gurley, Georgia situation, if you remember that one. And they got turned in.
“Kayshon Boutte served his suspension last year in the Tigers’ 38-0 victory against New Mexico. But because Maason Smith got injured on the fifth play of the Florida State game in the season opener last year, he couldn’t serve a suspension. So the NCAA was like, ‘No, you still gotta serve it, dude.’ So he is now serving a suspension more than two years after the thing he did was declared completely within the rules.”
Andy Staples on the NCAA’s decision to suspend Maason Smith: ‘The NCAA needs a Vice President of Common Sense’
Smith, of course, tore his ACL during last year’s game against Florida State at the Caesar’s Superdome in New Orleans. He’s looking to be a key player for LSU on defense this year after totaling 19 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks as a freshman in 2021.
But he’ll have to wait to make his season debut for something that, if it happened a couple months later, would have been legal under NCAA rules.
“I want to meet the NCAA hardo who decided this had to happen. That one of the best players in the country had to miss a game that we all want to watch because he did something that isn’t actually against the rules anymore,” Staples said. “It’s like the last prohibition agent who grabbed the last bottle of hooch before alcohol was illegal again. What is wrong with these people?
“I say it every time. The NCAA needs a Vice President of Common Sense. … No one would have known or cared. Not a single person would have known or cared. But no. The people at the NCAA cannot help themselves. They have to do this. They have to grasp on to whatever they have left of the control. … And now, we don’t get to watch Maason Smith play against Florida State. What a victory for all of us. Thank you, NCAA. Great job. You’ve done it again.”