Less than a week after Louisiana State University officially unveiled its new $28 million football operations and nutrition center, first-year athletic director Scott Woodward said the policy of LSU athletics giving $10 million annually to the school will end on his watch.

“It’s something that’s very dangerous, when universities rely on recurring money, especially from an auxiliary like the athletic department,” Woodward said in an exclusive interview with Tiger Rag. “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.”

As reported by Tiger Rag, Woodward's successor, Joe Alleva, initiated the unprecedented fund-transfer policy that contributed nearly $50 million to the university between 2012 and 2017, despite the initial guarantee being just $36 million during that time.

Woodward confirmed in the interview his belief that it’s not the athletics department’s responsibility to bail a state school out. He also eschewed any responsibility the Tiger Athletic Foundation might have to incentivize donors to donate to the LSU Foundation or the LSU Alumni Association.

“I think that’s the wrong question,” he said when asked about that possibility. “I think the right question is ‘What are our current donors at TAF doing for the university?’ And I have a feeling that… in both places I’ve been [Texas A&M and Washington], on average they give 1.5 times more to the academic side. I’m sure that’s the case here.

“You can’t just bifurcate or trifurcate our donors as TAF donors or LSU Foundation Donors or Alumni Association donors or Ag donors or whatever kind of donors you want to put in. You get a cross in all sorts of ways. We feed off each other, and it’s a very healthy, positive thing.”

LSU President F. King Alexander vaguely addressed the controversy last Wednesday during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the $28 million football operations center.

“I’d like to thank… all the TAF donors who made this happen,” Alexander said. “Many of you guys, probably the vast majority have supported athletics and academics on our campus, on both sides of Nicholson Drive. We’re proud that you’ve been able to contribute so much so consistently for our program and our university as we go forward.”

Buzz surrounding the athletic department's newest facility sparked an outcry from students and faculty about a number of budget concerns the university is facing, including the state of Middleton Library, which currently has flood damage among other issues, the Tiger Rag reported.

 

Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.