A message for everyone who is upset with LSU's luxurious locker room
LSU built a lovechild of Emirates First Class and the Dallas Cowboys locker room.
That’s the only way I can think to describe the Tigers’ upgraded locker room, which is now complete with individual sleeping pods unlike any in college sports. Revolutionary? Sure. Necessity? Definitely not. Luxury? Absolutely.
Thing that made way too many people mad online? Unfortunately.
Believe it or not, the stunned players you saw in the video that LSU tweeted out to unveil the new locker room wasn’t the only reaction to the facilities upgrade.
If only there was enough money… https://t.co/9X6ZE1gFOV
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) July 22, 2019
The locker room when I was at LSU 7 years ago was better than the current one in Carolina. But there’s no money to compensate these young men for the revenue they bring to the school #JustSaying https://t.co/hlQtMy8dwd
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) July 22, 2019
Pay the players! Give them the money that would have been used for the locker room, man! How could LSU spend money like this when other programs at the university need the money more?!
Oh wait. That was an actual opinion from LSU professor Robert Mann.
“Meanwhile, across campus, I vacuum my faculty office with a Dust Devil I bought from Walmart,” Mann quote-tweeted with the picture of the new facility.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow responded to that with a since-deleted tweet that said “why, professor, do you feel entitled to the fruits of our labor.”
Takes on takes on takes.
Here’s something that isn’t a take and is just a fact that Mann or Bilas wouldn’t dare acknowledge with their initial quote tweets. That project was funded entirely by philanthropic gifts. It didn’t cost taxpayers a thing, it didn’t raise tuition and it sure as heck didn’t come from some university slush fund.
You can think players should be paid, but making the argument Bilas made was foolish. Using that platform to say “but there just isn’t enough money” pins the blame on LSU and like this money was strictly football revenue that could have gone back to the players. Bilas is smart enough to know that’s not how this works.
If Bilas wants a world in which boosters provide salaries for players, that’s a completely different discussion. But even if he does, that’s not LSU’s fault. And sorry, but Bilas or anyone else under the impression that the NCAA needs to switch to that type of model — one where it’s all on the boosters to fund a team’s, uh, payroll — is crazy.
That’s the problem. People like Bilas and Mann, not to mention non-football players at LSU, are simply using this LSU locker room stuff as a platform to complain. Mann essentially admitted this much:
I’ve said this 100 times: I don’t begrudge LSU athletics anything they have and that they’ve built or purchased with private dollars. I only wish the state treated what happens on the other side of campus as equally important to the school’s success as football, baseball, etc.
— Robert Mann (@RTMannJr) July 22, 2019
And yes, I understand that LSU has a library that’s falling apart and that there are other areas on campus that would have benefitted greatly from a $28 million donation. Nobody is denying that.
But there’s a reason that college campus libraries don’t look like Tiger Stadium. Boosters are going to write big checks for things that provide them entertainment. If you want to go yell at an individual for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on one thing instead of the other, be my guest.
It’s easy to tell other people how to spend their money. It’s also easy to get mad online for the rich getting richer.
Former LSU stars Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson each donated $1 million to make this facilities upgrade happen. They did that because they felt LSU helped them get to the NFL level they’re at now, where they’re making tens of millions of dollars.
There’s nothing stopping an LSU graduate who’s making tens of millions of dollars in an academic field from donating to build that new library. The list of distinguished LSU alumni in academia is long.
(Don’t take that as me telling people how to spend their money, though. I still believe in capitalism.)
Ten years ago, I’m not sure this story gets such opposition. Then again, 10 years ago, LSU wouldn’t have been able to afford this type of facilities upgrade. But this still speaks to our culture and the way some people choose to spend their time.
You can be frustrated with a lack of funding for certain university programs, and you can argue that student-athletes in big revenue sports deserve compensation. But using this LSU facilities upgrade to push that agenda is wrong. It’s misguided.
It’s an easy thing to make some snarky comment about and use it as some macro reflection on society having its priorities messed up. Anybody can be a keyboard warrior. Not everybody can have millions of dollars that they want to donate to improve something that’s important to them.
I’m not going to sit here and say that LSU football needed that money more than others. But I’ll be darned if I’m going to sit here and shame how people far wealthier than I’ll ever be choose to spend their money. We’re still living in a capitalist country that allows for people to create the Emirates First Class/Dallas Cowboys locker room lovechild if they so choose.
Go get mad about something else, internet.