LSU Self-Imposes Penalties on Football Program

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LSU has announced self-imposed penalties for NCAA violations that occurred within its football program. 

A two-year investigation revealed that the father of a recruit was paid by an LSU booster for what was characterized by the NCAA as a “no-show job.” In addition, former LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was caught distributing cash to players following the Tigers’ national championship victory last season. Finally, LSU coach Ed Orgeron was involved in an impermissible recruiting contact in January 2019. 

Sports Illustrated reports that the penalties include scholarship reductions, reductions in the allowable number of recruiting visits, and a reduction in the number of days allowed for off-campus contact.

“LSU has worked proactively and in cooperation with the NCAA to identify and self-report any violations that occurred within our football program," Robert Munson, LSU Senior Associate Athletic Director, said in a statement provided to SI. "We believe these self-imposed penalties are appropriate and we will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the NCAA on this matter.” 

Despite the self-imposed penalties, the NCAA may yet weigh in to impose additional penalties based on the nature of the offenses. SI reports that prior correspondence between LSU and the NCAA show that LSU believes the infractions on its record are of the most severe level — Level 1. However, within each level there are gradations of violations: aggravated, standard and mitigated. The self-imposed penalties would fit the bill for mitigated Level 1 infractions. More severe penalties, including a postseason ban, were reportedly discussed. 

LSU no longer employs two individuals who were involved in the program at the time of the booster payments — former athletic director Joe Alleva and football coach Les Miles — a fact that could work in the school’s favor when it comes to the football penalties.

However, a dispute remains between LSU and the NCAA over how the case will be handled. Another NCAA investigation into Level 1 violations within the school’s men’s basketball program is currently ongoing. Those cases have been jointly referred to the NCAA’s Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). LSU wants to separate the cases, and allow the NCAA to rule on them individually. 

Communication between the two entities reveals that the school has been frustrated by the NCAA’s unwillingness to separate the cases.

“The football inquiry is finished and prepared for resolution,” LSU wrote to the NCAA. “The football inquiry should not sit idle and stall while the basketball inquiry proceeds over the next 6 to 12 months. ... Referral of the football inquiry to the IARP based on the alleged actions of the men's basketball coach is not logical.”

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