LSU running back John Emery has been suspended for the first two games of the season, according to multiple sources. Emery would miss the season opener against Florida State on September 4 and the team’s home opener against Southern University on September 10. However, Emery is expected to appeal the suspension to hopefully reduce or remove the two-game ban.
The Athletic’s Brody Miller reported Sunday that the suspension is related to academic issues that led to Emery missing the entire 2021 season. LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly was mum on the issue when asked by several local media outlets about Emery’s status for the Allstate Louisiana Kickoff against the Seminoles in New Orleans.
“Everything he’s done for us has been outstanding in football,” Kelly said. “Anything else that arises would not be anything I can comment on because of privacy rights.”
Kelly cited the Buckley Amendment, which is also known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, when asked about Emery’s status during a previous press conference. The amendment limits the release of student information and educational records.
“You guys know the situation with John Emery,” Kelly continued. “I really can’t get into the specifics of that because of the Buckley Amendment.” Emery missed the entire 2021 campaign due to academic issues as he was ruled academically ineligible. Multiple attempts by Emery’s family and their attorney, Don Jackson, to overturn the ruling were unsuccessful.
Jackson argued that the reason Emery fell three hours short of the NCAA requirements in the fall of 2020 was due to multiple hardships due to his grandmother dying of cancer and his stepfather spending much of the year hospitalized on a ventilator due to complications from COVID-19. Also, Emery also had COVID-19 twice in 2020 as well. Jackson also stated that LSU bylaws limited the number of classes that students could take over the summer, which was when Emery attempted to catch up on his coursework. Unfortunately for Emery, the NCAA upheld their ruling.
Apparently, lingering issues from last fall’s suspension have led the NCAA to keep the running back out for the first two games this season. However, according to sources, Emery and LSU are attempting to argue that Emery has been meeting academic standards since Kelly’s hiring and this should mitigate the punishment.
Even if the suspension holds, Emery is expected to be the feature back in Kelly’s offense.
“I’m really proud of the progress [Emery]’s made since my short time here,” Kelly said during the spring. “And I think we’re gonna see him play for us this fall because of that.”
Emery, who was a highly touted five-star recruit from St. Rose, Louisiana, was expected to take over the starting role at running back this season following the departure of Ty Davis-Price.
However, with this hiccup, the Tigers will look to Penn State transfer Noah Cain to fill Emery’s shoes. Cain, a junior from Baton Rouge, appeared in 24 games and started eight times for the Nittany Lions. In three seasons with Penn State, Cain rushed for 790 yards and 12 touchdowns on 192 carries and caught 24 passes for 154 yards before transferring to LSU for this season.
In related news, LSU junior cornerback Raydarious Jones has also been suspended for the entire 2022 season due to academic issues. Jones is a fourth year cornerback who appeared in nine games last season for the Tigers but with the multiple transfers bolstering LSU’s secondary, Jones was not expected to be in the starting rotation this season.