Last month, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards address the state on the state government’s budgetary issues.
In his speech, he noted that the LSU football program and other programs at state universities could be impacted by the public universities closing due to lack of funds. The impact could result in programs like LSU have to sit out this upcoming college football season.
At the time, many thought it to be nothing more than political posturing, using college football to draw more attention to the issue. But according to what LSU President F. King Alexander told the Baton Rogue Press Club on Monday afternoon, that cutting college football this season is a very real possibility.
However it should be said that the possibility of LSU foregoing this season isn’t because there is a lack of funding for the football program, as it is profitable on its own. Rather a general lack of funding will force the university to not be able to offer summer courses to players. Thus, they will be ineligible.
Here is an excerpt from Alexander’s talk with the Press Club:
“I know a lot of people will say, ‘Well, that’s not going to happen,’” Alexander said referring to the prospect of LSU football being hurt. “Well, that will happen if we don’t have summer school. We’ll only have half of our football team eligible.”
The recent theme of using football to garner attention for worst-case scenarios to higher education has been widely criticized by many legislators who have stated that the rhetoric is either unrealistic or that it minimizes the importance of cuts to academics.
“It’s not us saying that,” Alexander said. “It’s the NCAA telling us that — that student athletes have to be eligible to play. And yes, classes and sports go together. They’re student athletes, you can’t have one without the other.”
According to the report, Louisiana is trying to reconcile a $900 million mid-year budget shortfall, and the state’s government is about 30 percent of the way through it with 10 days left in the current session.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports