LSU’s football faithful, suffering from an interminable season set to end this weekend, found a glimmer of solace in a road win against formidable Florida. Good for them. Good for the shoe, too.
But the passing pleasure of a victory in distant fog ought not distract Tiger believers from taking a clear-eyed look at what this season revealed at home — deep, systemic wrongs that must be addressed, wins and losses notwithstanding. What lies under the worst of LSU’s football problems is not solely a failure of Xs and Os but also of rights and wrongs.
The tough challenge to LSU and its vaunted athletic department, so important to Louisiana and the university, is about more than whether rules…
LSU has proved its long-term resiliency this century, winning national championships under three different coaches. The least of these coaches by reputation, Ed Orgeron, led the Fighting Tigers to the greatest season in college football history in 2019, only to reign over his team’s 2020 crumble.
Worse than what happened on the field, though, was what seems to be off-the-field character deficiencies. Start at the top with last year’s historic win over hated Alabama, when Orgeron led a mocking, vulgar locker room chant that embarrassed the coach and his program when it hit social media. Could anyone imagine coaches of character leading young men in such fashion?
Follow that with an embarrassing display from former player Odell Beckham Jr., who, after the team’s national championship win in January, was caught on camera handing out wads of money to players on the field. NCAA sanctions are in process.
It’s as though the football gods said to LSU in 2019: “You got perfection and the best season we ever saw. But yea, verily, there will be a pr…
Orgeron’s personal life became the stuff of tabloid fodder, as well. Photos about his dating life made the rounds on social media — they would have been better kept private — while his team teetered on the field. But the worst was ahead.
News surfaced during the season of two former football players accused of repeated violence against women, with no clear signs that Orgeron — or anyone at LSU — played strong roles in investigating or disciplining errant, even criminal, players. That behavior poses grave danger to the victims’ safety and well-being and is an affront to LSU’s self-respect.
Now a published USA Today report says that since Ed Orgeron took charge of the football program, perhaps nine players have been reported for sexual misconduct and dating violence, with little concrete action taken. Victims, frustrated by inaction surrounding their accusations, have turned elsewhere to be heard. That inaction extends to the upper reaches of the athletic department.
That’s the underlying rot — absence of character and control — that appears to be inside LSU athletics, including football. It demands remedy first — before anyone discusses wins and losses. If LSU cannot take the right steps itself, it may require that the Southeastern Conference and NCAA step in and set things right.
LSU officials investigated in 2018 whether employees of the Athletic Department had properly handled a student's earlier complaint that a foot…