LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva spoke on several topics Wednesday morning on the radio show Sports Today on 104.5 FM WNXX, including LSU's new home-and-home schedule with Clemson, the school's new drug policy in the wake of Kristian Fulton's suspension and what the athletic department is doing to combat attendance problems at Tiger Stadium.
Here's what Alleva said on the show:
- Alleva on LSU playing at Clemson in 2025 and Clemson playing in Baton Rouge in 2026, and how the arrangement came together:
"Over the past few years, we've had a history of playing neutral site games, and those games have been very beneficial to us in a lot of ways. But we thought going forward that we needed to bring some quality opponents into Tiger Stadium other than our SEC opponents. And that's what we're doing. And we've heard an outcry from a lot of our fans wanting to play people like that in Tiger Stadium, and we're glad we've been able to do it. So that's basically in a nutshell of where we're going. You know, if you look at the college playoffs, it's important to play at least one quality opponent other than your league opponents for a strength of schedule that will help you get into those playoffs as we go forward. So, that's kind of where we're thinking, and we're excited about the teams that we've got lined up."
- Alleva on reports that LSU and Florida State could meet in neutral site games in New Orleans and Orlando in 2022 and 2023:
"Yes. We're in discussions with them. Nothing's been finalized yet. But I'm hopeful something like that will be worked out in the future. I think there's a real possibility that that could happen."
"I really don't believe in the next few years that the conference is going to a nine-game schedule. There are some real disadvantages to a nine-game schedule, and one of them is every other year, you have more away games than you do home games, and I think that that's a real negative. Our league is so tough from top to bottom that if you go to a nine-game schedule, that means our league will have seven more losses. Obviously when you play each other, someone's going to lose, and we don't really think that's beneficial to the future of our league. I really don't see us going to a nine-game schedule any time soon."
"It was changed because we felt like it gave a better opportunity to educate our kids. At the end of the day, our goal is to educate kids and prepare them for the rest of their lives. Sometimes kids come in here from an environment that's not the same as being on a college campus. We wanted to give them an opportunity to educate and help them be healthy. And that was the main reason why we did it."
- Alleva on why the SEC has not adopted universal drug policy:
"It's come up a couple times, never got any traction. I don't think anyone can all agree on what the policy would be. I think that would be the hardest thing, is to get everyone to agree what the policy is and should be. Every time its come up, the discussion hasn't lasted very long because no one can agree on even the concept of having the same policy for everybody."
- Alleva on Fulton's two-year suspension being upheld by the NCAA:
"That's very unfortunate what happened with Kristian. He made a mistake, he admitted his mistake, and at the end of the day, the NCAA has a rule that if you tamper with a sample, it's a two-year penalty. He admitted that he did that and they wouldn't back down on the two-year penalty. I think a two-year penalty is too harsh. But that is the penalty, and unless the penalty gets changed, I don't foresee us being able to do anything. We have exhausted pretty much everything that we've tried, all the appeals, things that we could do to help the guy. It's a shame because he's a great kid. He made one bad mistake and he's paying a dear price for it."
- Alleva on why the SEC has not changed its league-wide ban on selling alcohol in public areas of stadiums.
"Well, again, you have to remember that those decisions are made by the presidents. They have decided up til now that they felt like it was better for the league to have a universal policy to ban alcohol in public areas, other than private, club-type areas. My stance has been, and our president's stance has been, that we would love to offer alcoholic beverages to everyone, the whole public area of a stadium. I really think that that's going to change in the future. I think that there's a committee being assembled right now by the conference to study it, come up with some recommendations. I believe we are the only Power 5 conference that has that rule that you can't serve alcohol throughout the stadium. Every other conference I believe says that it's up to each institution how they want to handle it. I'm very hopeful that in the near future our league will change and allow that to happen."
- Alleva on attendance issues at Tiger Stadium:
"Well, attendance at games is something that's not unique to LSU. It's happening all across the country. I believe there's a couple of factors to that. I think big-screen TVs are a factor. I believe that the demographics of our fan base is changing as far as, some of our fans are getting older and not being able to travel and go to games anymore. I think young people, some have different interests than going to a live event with electronic things that they can do. One of the things we have to do is make sure that we provide as good an experience as we can. one of the things we've done in Tiger Stadium this year is replace all the television sets, so everywhere you go, you'll be able to see what's going on all the time. We're going to try and improve the concession stands and the products that are produced there. You have to make sure that there's connectivity for people's mobile devices so they can stay in touch, because everyone wants to know what's going on at every minute. Things like that are things we can try to control, but it's tough. The general dynamics of people are changing. There are so many events that are available on TV that a lot of people are just finding it convenient for them to be home and have their restroom. But there's nothing like being in Tiger Stadium. There's nothing like it. It's the best venue in the country, and when it's rocking and rolling on a Saturday night, there's nothing like it."
- Alleva on why poor seating for visiting fans deters them from going to away games:
"I think that's a huge factor. When we go on the road, most of our seats are way up in the upper decks and our fans don't want to sit up there. I think that's a big factor. That's not just a factor that our fans our dealing with. When people come here, they have to sit in the upper deck also. That's a phenomenon that's going across our conference. People are turning back tickets to us left and right also. Fans are not traveling like they used to, and I think the seats are a huge part of why that's happened."