Fixing LSU, Its Football Program and the Athletic Department
By Chris Warner
ChrisWarnerauthor.com (Inside the Eye of the Tiger) Tell-All by Simmons
October 11, 2021
As 3-3 LSU passes the midway point and enters week seven of the now-fleeting 2021 college football season, it does so with little fanfare, even with its most hated eastern division rival, Florida (4-2), coming to Tiger Stadium, that once-intimidating cathedral of college football. That is because the die-hard LSU fans have seen enough. Like spoiled Alabama fanatics, they too know winning football—and they understand that this version of the LSU Tiger Football team is patently incapable of it; and therefore it is unacceptable moving forward, as it is devoid of leadership, and is a lost cause.
The 2019 national championship buzz has worn off, along with the senseless campus and stadium vaccination restrictions that were more for show than for dough; meaning all that is left for the downtrodden, beguiled LSU fans is the repeated, sour taste of losing, further embarrassment caused by an obtuse, woke administration and the stagnant contents of their concealed flask; and none of that will fill the empty coliseum seats that appear to be the tragic, new normal in Tiger Stadium.
A New Coach Is Coming to THE DEPARTMENT
The old adage goes that it starts at the top. No organization operates in a vacuum. Leadership is an art and it has a real and measurable impact on the success of an organization. One could argue forcefully that the football program and the department have operated lately without it, deferring foolishly instead to the lazy whim of political correctness in a vain, faint hope for success.
The LSU athletic director must act fast in the coming days, but there remains the curious, dark, legal cloud that hangs over the entire athletic program—related to the alleged cover-ups of sexual impropriety and even rape by football players, their alleged victims being former female student-athletes and students, constituting a clear violation of federal Title IX laws designed to protect student-athletes while at university. This was made public a year ago, with front-page articles reported in USA Today, and by other national media.
A year later, after an earlier, self-induced and self-paid report that placed the blame on former head coach Les Miles, and not Ed Orgeron, LSU issued a half-hearted apology and promised to do better, disallowing one of its key administrators from watching tiger football in person as adequate punishment for the departmental fall. This was a bad look and ostensibly an admission by LSU that it was going to fight the charges of misconduct, as well as the mounting lawsuits, in the unsure days ahead. And here we are. It is now time to fight— because LSU’s credibility is at stake, moving forward.
Convincing a Potential New Football Coach LSU the LSU Athletic Department is NOT a Viper Pit
When Mike Archer resigned in November 1990, after he learned from a TV report that he was being replaced as the Tiger head football coach, LSU, under the advisement of athletic director Joe Dean, hired Curley Hudson Hallman. Four years earlier, Steve Spurrier considered the job at LSU, but was encouraged by outgoing head football coach, Bill Arnsparger, to wait for a better job. That’s because Arnsparger was pining for the Florida Athletic Director job—and if he got it he would be Steve’s boss, at the former Heisman winner’s alma mater. The rest, as they say, is history. Spurrier got the inside political scoop on LSU from Arnsparger and later an offer to coach his alma mater he couldn’t refuse. In hindsight, it was an easy decision and eventually a dream job for the man who would become the vaunted “Evil Genius,” and the unflappable “Shiny Pants” who terrorized SEC defenses still applying an antiquated “three yards and a cloud of dust approach” to winning football games.
LSU has no former Heisman winner it can conjure at this critical juncture. Instead, it is left to its own myopic, intensely political devices—the same destructive forces that got it into this quagmire. Any buyout of Ed Orgeron must admit that he did no wrong related to the dismissed Title IX allegations (Husch-Blackwell). Despite popular opinion from fans—LSU cannot fire Ed for cause related to crimes it says never happened. Consider how dangerous this type of assertion could be given that the matter will go to court. Discovery in the lawsuits is forthcoming and imminent. Given this, LSU has no choice but to stick by its assertions of innocence, negotiate a more favorable buyout than Orgeron’s current $21 million, and somehow persuade a new coach to enter the dragon with assurances to insulate him from any similar political chicanery theretofore—with the exact same administration. Woodward has his work cut out for him.
There are Tiger fans and onlookers who insist that Woodward will fire Ed with cause and save the university $21 million on its new coaching hire. If Woodward does that Ed will attempt to burn it all down on the way out to protect his deserved buyout, especially given LSU’s previous strong, defensive stance in the face of the egregious allegations against him and the department. Firing Ed for cause is tantamount to admitting gross negligence and extreme indifference in the related lawsuits. It is a road they can ill afford to take, which puts Ed in a terrific bargaining position, ultimately, despite his staggering transgressions on and off the field. Ed’s agent should be commended. LSU, on the other hand, will have to surreptitiously pay Ed most of his buyout money and make whole the suing victims alleging cover-ups of sexual abuse, a figure totaling more than $50 million, either in or out of court.
So, at this point, LSU is $70 million in the hole if it keeps its current story, insisting innocence, as the matter is set for more than one trial. This is a worst-case scenario. However, LSU must navigate these damaging lawsuits while simultaneously searching for a proven professional football coach capable of leading them out of this potentially disastrous, swampy morass, as the department is only as good as its once-dominant football team; and the clock is ticking.
LSU fans at this juncture should focus not on the actions of the athletic director, but on the future actions of the LSU Board of Supervisors, the governing body that will ultimately sign off on the pivotal administrative decision that will determine the future of the athletic department, and whether or not LSU continues to maintain its lofty, storied athletic brand.
*Chris Warner is the author and publisher of over 20 books, including “Inside the Eye of the Tiger” a tell-all book on the LSU Athletic Department. A double graduate of LSU, he lives in Perdido Key, Florida.
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