Last month, new Louisiana State University athletic director Scott Woodward suggested that his department would end the practice of contributing surplus funds to support the academic functions of the university that began under his predecessor Joe Alleva.
New details about that decision emerged at the Baton Rouge Rotary Club this week, where the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report writes Woodward told attendees that after this year, athletics will discontinue the policy of providing academics lump-sum payments while continuing to support the university in other ways.
“We are going to start looking at providing one-time funding to the university, whether for a building or some improvements that are needed or something like that,” Woodward said.
The policy of athletics funding going to support academics began in 2012, when the cash-tight university faced strict budget cuts imposed by former Gov. Bobby Jindal. Woodward supported the rationale behind the decision but criticized the cuts that put the department in that position in the first place.
“I watched it from afar,” Woodward said, “It was criminal what they did and Joe Alleva did the right thing.”
The university’s finances have reportedly improved under current Gov. John Bel Edwards, but the athletic department is now facing its own financial pressures that make the continued fund-transfer model unsustainable.
During the years of the athletics-to-academics cash transfers, the department sent a reported $7.2 million annually to the university. This year, however, appears to be the final time such a transfer will take place.