LSU president: 'We'll only have half of our football team eligible' without summer school
Last month, Governor John Bel Edwards gave an address to the state of Louisiana on the government’s budgetary issues.
Many considered that to be political posturing or perhaps an attempt to get folks that love college football to pay attention to the seriousness of the situation.
But according to what LSU President F. King Alexander told the Baton Rogue Press Club on Monday afternoon, the threat to the Tigers’ 2016 football season is seemingly very real.
Much of the original concern about the impact this budgetary issue could have on the football program was not around spending cuts that would directly harm the football program, which is profitable on its own.
Rather, it was that the Baton Rogue campus could be forced to shut down before the end of a semester, leaving the school unable to issue grades that would keep football players eligible to play via NCAA rules.
Here’s an excerpt of Allen’s story:
“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 session.