The LSU Tigers beat Clemson Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship, but an admission by LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has some wondering whether the team’s perfect 15-0 season may be tarnished by an NFL superstar’s postgame stunt.
The controversy centers around video taken after the game that appeared to show NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. handing fistfuls of cash to LSU players, including to junior wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Jontre Kirklin.
While LSU officials initially claimed that the money Beckham was handing out was fake, the school, along with the NCAA and the SEC have all launched investigations into the matter.
Things may have gotten a bit murkier Tuesday after Burrow, who has now entered the NFL draft, admitted the cash was indeed legal tender.
"I'm not a student-athlete anymore, so I can say yeah," Burrow said on the "Pardon My Take" podcast when asked if Beckham gave him money.
In light of its investigation, LSU has now released the following statement, which was reported by Sports Illustrated:
“We are aware of the situation regarding Odell Beckham Jr. interacting with LSU student-athletes and others unaffiliated with the team following the championship game Monday night. Initial information suggested bills that were exchanged were novelty bills. Information and footage reviewed since shows apparent cash may have also been given to LSU student-athletes. We were in contact with the NCAA and the SEC immediately upon learning of this situation in which some of our student-athletes may have been placed in a compromising position. We are working with our student-athletes, the NCAA and the SEC in order to rectify the situation.”
Beckham was born and raised in Louisiana and was a star receiver for LSU from 2011-2013. His antics were taken by some as affront to the NCAA’s amateurism rules.
A Sports Illustrated analysis of the incident suggest LSU’s investigation into the matter was centered around ensuring that LSU coaches and staff were not complicit in the matter.
“The NCAA would be less likely to sanction LSU if the school genuinely didn’t know that Beckham would carry out a post-game stunt,” wrote Michael McCann for SI.com, “and if school officials hadn’t observed any indications that it would happen.”