A legislative audit of LSU's athletic budget for fiscal 2018 showed Hurricane Harvey increased operating expenses, total revenues increased in the Tiger Athletic Foundation and that head coach Ed Orgeron received a $10,000 relocation incentive payment that was not included in his contract.
The report was released Monday morning by state Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera. The document is public under state law.
The LSU athletic department spent $137.5 million in fiscal 2018, from July 2017 through June 2018. The expenses were up $5.7 million from 2016-17.
The audit report included explanations for expenses that increased more than 10 percent from 2017 to 2018.
LSU spent $1,934,511 more on support staff in 2018 because "under the direction of a new (men's basketball) head coach, total positions in the department increased," LSU produced more events for SEC Network and other ESPN media platforms, and "a few" more football positions "were added to the department."
Hurricane Harvey partly led to LSU spending $2,865,442 more on operating expenses. The hurricane moved the location of the Tigers' 2017 season-opener against BYU from Houston to New Orleans, and "due to the lack of ticket sales, LSU was obligated to pay $736,450 for the unsold tickets."
The operating expenses also included about $300,000 for the LSU baseball team's travel to Oregon State for an NCAA regional, plus increased expenses in marketing to "improve the overall fan experience."
The audit report examined the contracts of "all head coaches from football and men's and women's basketball," and it found that Orgeron received a $10,000 relocation incentive payment that "was not included in the financial terms and conditions of his contract."
According to audit and LSU athletic officials, Orgeron was already under contract as the defensive line coach when he was promoted to interim head coach after Les Miles was fired four games into the 2016 season. Orgeron was living in Mandeville when he was hired as the full-time head coach at the conclusion of the season, and the $10,000 he received to move to Baton Rouge was not included in his contract.
Orgeron's $3.5 million per year contract is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2021.
Similar relocation payments are included in other athletic contracts, such as safety coach Bill Busch, who received a one-time payment of $5,000 when Orgeron hired him from Ohio State last year.
Nearly 68 percent of those revenues were spent on "other operating expenses," which is annually the largest focus of expense. But in 2017, there was a considerable increase in the money spent on recruiting; TAF spent $851,332 toward athletic recruiting in 2017, which was more than double the $392,421 it spent in 2016.
The increase toward recruiting in the TAF budget reflects a similar change in the LSU athletic budget for fiscal 2018, which showed that LSU spent $420,800 more on recruiting expenses than it had in the previous year.
The report also showed that the TAF donated about $5.8 million to renovate the LSU football operations center, Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.