So, um, this happened:
Pittsburgh Panthers receiver Tyler Boyd is being investigated for suspicion of driving under the influence following a traffic stop early Friday morning.
Jefferson Hills police say the 20-year-old Boyd was pulled over around 2:30 a.m. Friday and underwent breathalyzer and blood tests. Jefferson Hills Police Sgt. Kevin King says the results are pending and no charges have been filed.
A few immediate thoughts here.
First, it's important to keep in mind that Boyd wasn't charged - he's only under investigation. There is suspicion of a DUI but that's all at this point. His test results may very well come back under the legal limit.
What there seems to be little doubt about is that alcohol was involved. We still don't yet know all of the facts but the ESPN article mentions that Boyd admitted to drinking. And that's a problem, regardless of the DUI, since Boyd isn't yet 21. Even if he gets out of the DUI issue, assuming he was indeed drinking, he's still broken the law.
Because of that, Pat Narduzzi is facing an early test. It's not only going to be his first major disciplinary test at Pitt of a star player, but his first one overall as a head coach. A final decision probably won't be made until we see if Boyd is charged or not, but as I said above, even if he isn't charged he'll almost certainly be facing some sort of discipline for the underage drinking if his admission of guilt there is true. Narduzzi made that clear in his official statement released by the team:
"We have high expectations for the young men in our program, on and off the field," Narduzzi said. "Tyler understands that and knows he must be responsible for his actions. Certainly he will be held accountable to our internal standards of discipline and behavior."
I'm not going to get on a soapbox and pretend as if underage drinking is the most serious thing in the world. It's the norm in college, not the exception. But getting behind the wheel of a car after doing so is serious and beyond all of that, it's disappointing to see from Boyd, who is one of the guys constantly being viewed as a leader of the team. He and running back James Conner are getting all kinds of NFL hype already for the 2016 NFL Draft and this set an unbelievably bad example.
Speaking of that NFL Draft, Boyd's actions hurt himself there, too. If he avoids the DUI charge, that would help matters. But teams will still take this brush with the law under consideration. If he has another big year without any additional troubles, his stock isn't likely to take a big hit. But it just gives teams a reason to potentially go in another direction if they're down to Boyd and another receiver they value equally. It doesn't mean that Boyd is guaranteed to slip, but it certainly hurts what was a pretty clean image.
Finally, all of the enthusiasm surrounding the football program took a massive hit here. It's not quite the equivalent of Paul Chryst dropping his debut against Youngstown State - about as deflating a loss as you can have. But it does certainly slow the momentum the program was building after the Pat Narduzzi hire.
We'll have to see how the DUI charge shakes out, but overall, just some bad news this weekend.
Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.