LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said there haven't yet been discussions to extend head football coach Ed Orgeron's contract on a Tuesday morning interview with "Off the Bench" on 104.5 ESPN, saying "the season's still not over yet."
Orgeron's $3.5 million per year contract, which ranks 37th among NCAA coaches according to USA Today, is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2021.
If No. 11 LSU (9-3) beats No. 8 Central Florida (12-0) in its first New Year's Six bowl appearance in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1, the Tigers will have their first 10-win season since 2013, when LSU went 10-3 with an Outback Bowl victory over Iowa under former head coach Les Miles.
Per Orgeron's contract, he is already scheduled to receive a $150,000 bonus for reaching a New Year's Six bowl, and an additional $100,000 bonus will be on the way if LSU wins 10 games this season.
With Orgeron nearing the end of his second full season, Alleva said he felt the football program was heading in the right direction.
"It was a great year for LSU football, considering what all the experts expected," said Alleva, who called in from New York City, where three LSU players are up for awards at a Thursday ceremony. "Whenever you exceed expectation, that's a good thing. But there's a lot of things that go into evaluating the program. Things like recruiting; how kids are doing in school — there's all sorts of things that go into evaluating the football program, and I think that Coach Orgeron has done a terrific job.
"And they continue to do that out on the recruiting trail, motivating the players, and reaching out to the fans and doing all sorts of doing good community service, so, I think the program's in good hands and is heading in the right direction."
Alleva's interview covered LSU's appearance in its first Fiesta Bowl, the controversial calls in the season (including Devin White's targeting penalty and the Texas A&M game), and how the athletic department approaches talking to its football players about the NFL draft.
Fan response, ticket sales for the Fiesta Bowl: "Well it's positive from what I've heard from (Tiger Athletic Foundation President and CEO) Rick Perry, TAF and from our ticket office has been these fans are excited, and there's been a lot of requests for ticket sales. So, we'll see. I think it's a great destination, just an absolutely gorgeous part of the country, and like you said, it's a place that we've never been before, so I hope the novelty of that will attract our fans to go."
The Fiesta Bowl selection process:
"Well, the process is totally different from what it used to be. You could politic and talk to the bowls and promise them that we're going to sell a lot of tickets and all that kind of stuff, and now, that's totally out of the equation. Where you go in the bowl process for the New Year's Six bowls is totally in the hands of that football committee. The bowl has no input; We have no input. The bowl committee decides the games. After those six games, then there is some politicking for the other bowl games. The group of six. For those bowl games, to put in your request where you want to go through the conference office. The bowls put in who they'd like to have, and then the conference office kind of decides it. But they decide to do what the bowl and the schools want. There's more politicking in those games. But for the one that we're in, New Year's Six games, politicking is totally out of it. The committee has full control and makes all the decisions, and that's just the way it is now."
Alleva's talks with the SEC office regarding Devin White's targeting penalty, controversial officiating at Texas A&M: "Well, I've talked to them a lot. I've talked to them more than I want to, I'll tell you that much. Specifically, after both of those events that you mention, I spent a lot of time on the phone with the commissioner and with Steve Shaw, the head of officials, and I hate that we have those kind of problems, but I think that bringing it to their attention and talking about it, I think... I'm just going to speculate that I believe there'll be some changes in the way that communication's done and the way they explain things from the conference office. I think that those days are coming very quickly. I think they realize that they need to be more transparent, and I think they realize that they need to communicate a little bit better. So, we'll see."
On Greedy Williams not playing in the Fiesta Bowl, Devin White playing, and football players deciding about the NFL: "I think the most important thing that we can do for our student-athletes is be honest to them. Just tell them the truth. There's no question that Greedy's going to be a top draft pick. And same with Devin. But there's also a handful of kids that will not be high draft picks, and they're probably better off staying in school, trying to improve their stock, so when they get their first-time draft pick, they'll make a lot more money. And all we can do is try and get as much information as we can from the pros and the scouts and the general managers and just be as totally honest with them as we can. I think that's our job, and I think that's what Ed and his staff are trying to do. Just lay it out to the kids as honest as we can be and let them make their decision."
Contract extension for Orgeron: "Not yet, but I think we'll probably... I said probably, but we hadn't had any yet. The season's still not over yet."
Feedback on 'The Chute' in its first season providing beer options for fans inside Tiger Stadium: "Well, we got a great response from our fans. Everything was really positive. In fact, we're looking to try and create a couple of mini-chutes around the stadium. And I think we're actually going to create a couple of spots around the baseball stadium, too, where people may be able to buy an adult beverage. I think that's important for our fan experience, for those fans that like to have an adult beverage. I think that it's good, and we're going to try and keep expanding in our venues around and see where we can be creative in that regard."