When it comes to college athletics, I like to think I’m at least as cynical as the next guy, but I’ve got to say I was totally unprepared for the sheer blatancy of this:
Times are changing around LSU athletics, as with a new athletics director comes new policy.
And one new policy change under LSU’s new Athletics Director Scott Woodward will affect the university his department is connected to directly.
Under an unprecedented fund-transfer policy initiated by former LSU athletics director Joe Alleva, the LSU athletics department contributed millions of dollars to the academic institution that is LSU. Between 2012 and 2017, LSU athletics contributed nearly $50 million to the university under this policy despite the initial guarantee being just $36 million during that time.
But in an exclusive interview with Tiger Rag, Woodward said that policy will no longer continue under his watch, at least not as it has existed in recent years.
“It’s something that’s very dangerous, when universities rely on recurring money, especially from an auxiliary like the athletic department,” Woodward said. “So no, I think, while I will always support the university in some form or fashion, we can not sustain what we’re currently doing.”
Woodward confirmed his belief that it’s not the athletics department’s responsibility to bail a state school out.
Keep in mind Woodward was asked this in the context of the athletic department shelling out $28 million for its swanky new football operations center while the LSU library, which currently has flood damage among other problems, is the subject of a GoFundMe campaign.
This — an athletic director admonishing the school, which is, let’s not forget, his employer, about finances — is so far beyond a case of the tail wagging the dog that I no longer recognize the animal’s anatomy. The saddest thing is I suspect nobody in a position of authority in the state of Louisiana will do anything about it.
Remember the old sarcastic line uttered by the president of the University of Oklahoma: ”We want to build a university our football team can be proud of.”? Woodward’s just taking that one step further. LSU’s athletic director doesn’t care what kind of university his department is affiliated with, as long as it’s not a financial drag.
I’ll be curious to see if other ADs decide to march under his banner. And if any school presidents push back.