Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
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|LSU is above a bar brawl|
Labor Day weekend traditionally represents a happy time for those of us who care dearly about LSU football.
Politics, too, in election years.
Not this year.
If this was a normal year, we would be looking forward to two very important events – the beginning of the LSU football season and the run up to the primary elections in October. After all, in election years campaigns kick into high gear at Labor Day and don't let up until the votes are counted on election night. It's more entertaining when we have run-off elections to follow.
The statewide elections in this election year of 2011, though, are about as interesting as watching grass grow. In a drought.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is en route to easily being re-elected against token opposition while Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell would appear to be on their way to being re-elected with ease as well. Ditto for Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon.
Oh, there are contested elections for lieutenant governor and secretary of state, but who's really interested in those races anyway? No offense to the current office holders and their challengers.
Then there's our LSU Tigers.
What had the makings for a promising season for the Bayou Bengals turned ugly in the worst of ways a couple of weeks ago when we learned a host of the members of the LSU football team broke curfew to head out to a bar near campus in Baton Rouge. Not only did they break curfew and go to a bar, they got into a fist fight. At least some of them did, according to eye witnesses and worse, Baton Rouge police.
To date, two players are facing felony criminal charges over their involvement in a melee at some joint called Shady's. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson and back-up linebacker Josh Johns have been suspended from the team indefinitely while their cases work their way through the judicial process.
Jefferson was expected to enjoy a break-out season on the gridiron. Not anymore. His career at LSU most likely is done. It should be if he's found guilty of anything. The same should be the case for Johns.
Other members of the LSU football team could face criminal charges, too, for engaging in activities they were advised to avoid under any circumstances. The police and East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III are still sorting things out. They should do their jobs regardless of the blowback they may encounter from the LSU community.
That members of the LSU football team took it upon themselves to snub a team rule by breaking curfew to do whatever they damned well pleased represented a lack of institutional control on behalf of the man in charge – head coach Les Miles. Though Miles cannot be expected to control every action of every young man who is a member of his ballclub, he's still responsible for their behavior, and when their behavior embarrasses the university, he should shoulder the responsibility for it. No ifs, ands or buts.
Speaking of Miles, it's been a rough year for the man who had the thankless task of following in the footsteps of a coach who returned LSU football to prominence some eight years ago, Nick Saban.
In July, the LSU football program was placed on probation by the NCAA for major rules violations involving a former assistant coach, D.J. McCarthy, and a recruit, Akiem Hicks. McCarthy and Hicks are no longer around. They were shown the door following the 2009 season.
Meanwhile, LSU football is being investigated for its dealings with some sort of a recruiting specialist, Willie Lyles. LSU paid the man $26,000 since 2008 to provide information on potential recruits. It has been suggested Lyles may be guilty of leaning on prospects to commit to universities who paid him.
Lyles was initially fingered by the NCAA for his involvement with the University of Oregon. Ironically, LSU and Oregon open the 2011 season Saturday night at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in a nationally televised ballgame on ABC. The ABC commentators will have a field day with that one.
Along the way, or over the summer, offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe stepped down because of Parkinson's disease. Kragthorpe was brought on board to revitalize the LSU offense, which was abysmal the past couple of years under Gary Crowton's tutelage.
Kragthorpe will focus his attention on coaching quarterbacks in the 2011 season. Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa will assume coordinator duties. Best of luck to both men.
What does all of this mean, you may ask?
It's pretty simple.
Miles obviously doesn't have control of the football program. And he has a boss, athletic director Joe Alleva. Alleva has a boss, too. His name is Mike Martin, the chancellor. Martin has a boss as well. His boss is LSU System President John Lombardi.
All of them ultimately answer to the LSU Board of Supervisors, including the chairman of the board, James Moore of Monroe.
And all of them – all of the aforementioned decision makers – need to get together and right the ship immediately. Otherwise, a house cleaning may be in order.
Certainly, they all are aware that LSU the institution – the Flagship university in Louisiana – is far bigger and far more important than each one of them individually and collectively. As an LSU graduate, I'm fully aware of it.
Let's hope they are, too.