Hard times in Baton Rouge?

With the torrent of TV revenues flowing into the SEC, it’s not easy to imagine that any of the conference’s athletic programs are headed for a rough patch.  But even if you had to stretch a pick a school facing a need to tighten its belt, it’s not likely you’d pick LSU.

Nevertheless, judging from a couple of stories, something seems amiss in Cajun country.

The LSU chancellor is considering a campus wide one week furlough, which would encompass Miles and his staff, all of whom would be required to “donate” (there’s your euphemism of the day) their salaries.  No word on whether that would affect only Miles’ base salary, or also include the outside moneys he receives from radio, TV and shoe contracts.

Then, there’s the trend towards playing lower division non-conference opponents, particularly if they’re in state schools.

It saves LSU money.

… LSU will pay Tulane $850,000 for the Green Wave’s game in Tiger Stadium on Oct. 31. Ausberry hopes to pay McNeese and Northwestern State between $350,000 and $400,000, depending on when the games are played. The lower division schools cannot command as much money for a game as the higher division schools, Ausberry said, because the major programs try to play as few of the lower schools as possible. And all the lower division schools want to play the upper division schools.

And by scheduling in state opponents, LSU keeps the wealth in state and gets one additional benefit – better turnout for the cupcake games.

“For one thing, Northwestern State and McNeese will bring a lot more fans to the game,” Ausberry said. “We have trouble selling out games with FCS opponents from out of state. It makes no sense to bring in a Western Carolina when we have great I-AA programs right here.”

To be fair, it doesn’t look like the athletic department is faring badly, so much as the recession is putting greater demands on it.

… LSU’s athletic department, which could be asked to pay more money to the university amid $34 million of proposed budget cuts in the coming year, also is trying to save money.

Life sure is complicated these days.

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UPDATE: The athletic department seems to be holding up its end of the deal just fine.

… LSU’s athletic department is one of a handful in the country, along with Texas and Nebraska among others, that receives no state money, charges no student fees and is self sufficient. The athletic department operates on a yearly budget of more than $70 million and has routinely paid money back to the university for decades at a percentage of its earnings — $3.2 million in 2007, $3 million in 2008 and an estimated $3.6 million this year. Athletics will also pay another $4.5 million this year for a new band hall.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Hard times in Baton Rouge?

  1. JasonC

    “No word on whether that would affect only Miles’ base salary, or also include the outside moneys he receives from radio, TV and shoe contracts.”

    He doesn’t have a hat contract?! How can that be?

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  2. Joe

    Not to disparage our Cajun friends, but try not to forget that the state of Louisiana’s governance has often been a little “shaky.”

    There is not another state in America that has been more affected by graft and corruption.

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