Report: SEC gives thumbs up to Travonte Valentine’s 2016 return to LSU


It appears one obstacle in Travonte Valentine‘s journey back to Baton Rouge has been removed.

Citing an unidentified source, Ross Dellenger of the Baton Rouge Advocate has reported that LSU has “received assurances from the Southeastern Conference this week that Valentine would be eligible for the 2016 season if he did, in fact, rejoin the program.” The conference’s decision comes a couple of weeks after it was reported that Valentine’s return to the Tigers was a serious possibility.

Like one of his former teammates, Valentine will need to get his academic house in order — although that won’t be as stringent as it could be. From Dellenger:

Valentine still needs to complete 13 hours of course work over the summer to qualify, another source confirmed. The 6-foot-3, 345-pounder has spent the last year at two junior colleges – Arizona Western and, currently, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

If he does return to LSU, the 6-foot-3, 345-pounder isn’t obligated to meet the normal requirements for junior college transfers. He can use an “exception” because he’s returning to his original school, according to NCAA rules.

Should Valentine ultimately return to Baton Rouge, it’d be the continuation of a lengthy — and bumpy — odyssey.

After signing with the Tigers in February of 2014, Valentine dealt with NCAA Clearinghouse issues — the player said another SEC program was the root cause — that forced him to miss the start of summer camp his true freshman season. While he was ultimately cleared to practice, he was not permitted to play in any games because of the lingering academic issues.

Then in April of last year, head coach Les Miles confirmed that Valentine had been suspended, with the specific reason being, again, academics.  At the time of his departure from the program, it was reported that Valentine, in addition to the academic issues, had failed multiple drug tests.

In January, Valentine expressed hope that Miles would give him another shot with his football team.

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2014 recruiting class, Valentine was rated as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Florida. He had been expected to be an immediate contributor to LSU’s line rotation.