LSU announced Wednesday night that it has added a one-year bowl ban to its self-imposed sanctions stemming from an ongoing NCAA rules violation case.
The sanctions are added to penalties that LSU self-imposed in October, when the school decided it will cut eight football scholarships over the next two years, reduce recruiting visits and ban Odell Beckham Jr. from its facility for two years after the former LSU wide receiver handed out $2,000 in cash on the field after last year's national championship game.
LSU has self-implemented the penalties in the months after a series of infraction cases were taken up by an independent enforcement panel, which will ultimately decide what final sanctions will be levied in an investigation that has stretched more than two years.
A postseason ban was initially part of the conversation between the NCAA and LSU, a source confirmed to The Advocate in October, and the university backed away from such a severe penalty at first.
Now, with two games remaining in LSU's regular season, the school has imposed the bowl ban.
"This decision reflects LSU’s commitment to compliance with NCAA regulations and maintenance of institutional control," the university said in a statement. "We regret the impact that this decision has on our current student-athletes, but we make it in the best interest of the football program and University. LSU will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and IARP throughout the enforcement process.”
LSU is veering toward its first losing record since 1999, but athletic director Scott Woodward said in a radio interview last week that a bowl game was still more than likely to happen, since the NCAA waived win requirements and the Southeastern Conference has nine ties to bowl games.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron also welcomed the opportunity to play in a bowl game on Monday, because a bowl date would give his program almost two extra weeks of practice.
Now, LSU will not play in a bowl game for the first time since that 1999 season. The Tigers will play at No. 6 Florida on Saturday, then finish the season at home against Ole Miss on Dec. 19.
“I respect the university’s decision to proactively address NCAA issues from the past," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said in a statement. "I share the disappointment of our student-athletes who will not be able to compete this season in a bowl game. I am especially proud of our players' dedication to the program during these unprecedented times in our country. Their pride in LSU will be the driving force as we continue to build a championship program."
The NCAA has investigated LSU's football program for three separate potential rules violations while its enforcement staff looks into claims of impermissible payments given to recruits by men's basketball coach Will Wade, an ongoing investigation that entered the Independent Accountability Resolution Process in late September. No notice of allegations has been sent to LSU.
LSU didn't object to its basketball case being referred to the IARP as long as the NCAA investigation into the football program weren't lumped into the same case. LSU believed its football cases were closer to resolution, and, if combined with basketball, the process could take an unnecessarily longer period of time to conclude.
According to documents obtained by The Advocate through a public records request, the NCAA enforcement staff confirmed John Paul Funes, former chief fundraiser for Our Lady of the Lake Hospitals, arranged employment beginning in 2012 for the parents of former offensive lineman Vadal Alexander and paid his father $180,000 between 2012-17 for a "no-show" job.
The NCAA also looked into when Beckham was recorded on video handing out money to LSU players after the national championship game Jan. 13. LSU "worked quickly to recover the money," according to NCAA documents, and helped investigate.
The NCAA also investigated a potential recruiting violation in January 2019 involving Orgeron.
According to NCAA documents, LSU's attorneys wrote Orgeron was interviewed by the university's outside counsel and compliance staff. He admitted to "inadvertent but impermissible contact with the prospect," documents said.
The compliance staff reported the violation to the NCAA on July 31, 2019. LSU self-imposed penalties, which included 30 days off the road during the next recruiting period for Orgeron, plus a reduction in the total number of permissible off-campus contacts with the involved prospect.