Neaux Tigers: Why LSU Could Possibly Not Have Football Next Season
When I think of Louisiana, I think of New Orleans, Cajun food, and LSU football. Well, what if I told you that one of those things could possibly not be part of the Louisiana culture next year? That is exactly what is happening in Louisiana, with the state government threatening to cut LSU’s football program for a year as a result of a massive budget deficit. In fact, the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, is considering cutting all college football programs for the next year as the state faces a $2 billion budget deficit in the coming fiscal year. According to Bloomberg, this deficit is due in large part to the sliding price of oil, which has fallen from around $100 a barrel to around $30 a barrel. Governor Edwards’ alternative plan, which does not involve cutting football programs, is to temporarily increase the state’s sales tax to 5% and boost levies on alcohol and cigarettes. Given the prestige of the LSU football program, where they have had 22 players drafted in the past 3 years, it is truly unbelievable that the program could be cut.
The program also just wrapped up what 24/7 sports rated as the #3 recruiting class in the nation. For LSU players, suspension of football for a year could force them to transfer to schools where they can play. Assuming that the NCAA sees this case in the same way that they allowed UAB players to transfer after the program shut down, we could see big name talent flooding out of Baton Rouge, which would not only destroy the team, but would also hurt the SEC as a conference. It is unclear whether Governor Edwards’ threat to cancel football next year for LSU was a tactic to nudge the state legislature to pass his emergency legislation, but regardless, it is a very real threat. I believe that cancelling LSU’s season won’t just be bad for LSU and its fans, but will affect the NCAA as a whole. Like it or not, LSU football means a lot to the NCAA. LSU is one of the best teams in the SEC, which is one of the two best conferences in Division 1 Football. While for now, there will still be football in Louisiana, let’s just hope that Governor Edwards can figure out a different way to solve this deficit, one that does not involve cutting football.
Photo courtesy of LSUsports.net