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April 8, 2011

Floyd to return to Irish

Notre Dame will have Michael Floyd back next season.

And it appears the Irish will have their star receiver in uniform for the season opener against South Florida.

Multiple sources told Irish Illustrated on Friday that Floyd's punishment handed down by the Office of Residence Life did not include a suspension of any games but will include community service. Floyd's initial hearing with ResLife was last week, followed by today's deliberations.

It is unclear when Brian Kelly will reinstate Floyd to the team or if the head coach could suspend the receiver for games in addition to the punishment handed down by ResLife.

Floyd was arrested on March 20 at 3:18 a.m. near the main entrance to Notre Dame's campus and charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Floyd failed multiple field sobriety tests and his blood alcohol level registered at .19, more than twice Indiana's legal limit.

A day later Kelly suspended his star receiver indefinitely, which cost Floyd his final spring practice and the Irish a chance to work alongside the NFL talent.

Not only has Floyd's absence hurt Notre Dame's receiving corps, which returns little experience and less production, it's cost the Irish their second captain and robbed the secondary of a valuable sparring partner. Floyd caught 12 touchdowns last season. The rest of returning Irish receivers caught six.

"He adds a lot to our offense and that makes our defense better because we practice against him every day," said safety Harrison Smith. "Just having him around just ups the level of everybody else. That's something that we have missed."

The fact Notre Dame did not suspend Floyd marks a departure from past precedents within the restructured Office of Residence Life. When Will Yeatman committed his second alcohol-related offense in September of 2008, he was suspended for the season and ultimately transferred. Rashon Powers-Neal was suspended for the balance of the 2005 season after a DUI charge, ending his Irish career.

Floyd's arrest marks his third alcohol-related incident since 2009. The previous two incidents were for underage drinking. Floyd received community service from ResLife after the second of those incidents, which occurred in Minnesota over break shortly after Kelly was hired.

Last fall Notre Dame fired Bill Kirk, a vice president within ResLife who factored into the punishments handed down to student-athletes. Rev. Tom Doyle now oversees the department. Doyle walked on to the Notre Dame football team during Lou Holtz's first season.

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