The LSU football program has decided to self-impose penalties for rules violations, opting to dock itself eight scholarships over two years and reducing recruiting visits, evaluations and communication, Sports Illustrated reported today.
According to SI’s Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde, the sanctions come after a two-year investigation that uncovered booster payments to a player’s father and cash being distributed from ex-LSU receiver and current NFL star Odell Beckham Jr.
“LSU has worked proactively and in cooperation with the NCAA to identify and self-report any violations that occurred within our football program,” Robert Munson, LSU Senior Associate Athletic Director, said in an official statement. “We believe these self-imposed penalties are appropriate and we will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the NCAA on this matter.”
Sports Illustrated is reporting that the school notified the NCAA of its violations and self-imposed sanctions earlier this month, with LSU giving up four scholarships in each of the next two years, 12.5% official and unofficial visits, a 21-day reduction of the typical 168 days of off-campus contacts schools are allowed, and a six-week ban in communication with prospects.
As for the specifics of the violations, here is the complete list:
- $180,000 of stolen money was given to the father of former offensive lineman Vadal Alexander
- The money came from LSU booster John Paul Funes, who admitted in 2019 that he embezzled over $500,000 from Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge.
- The money was payment from 2012 to 2017 for what the NCAA characterized as a “no-show job.”
- Odell Beckham Jr. distributed $2,000 worth of $100 bills on the field following LSU’s win over Clemson in the national title game this past year
- LSU officials initially said the money was fake, but had to retract the assertion after Joe Burrow acknowledged the cash was real.
- $2,000 equates to one Level III violation.
- LSU is banning Beckham from its facilities for two years
- An impermissible recruiting contact in January 2019 by LSU coach Ed Orgeron. The school self-imposed recruiting restrictions on Orgeron.
LSU reportedly believes its violations are Level I in nature, the most serious of penalties that could result in a postseason ban. In fact, Sports Illustrated reports that LSU and NCAA officials discussed a postseason ban at one point in time, but the school decided against such a stiff penalty.
Now, the NCAA will decide if the self-imposed sanctions are enough or if the school deserves further punishment, which could be on the table if the organization decides to combine its investigation into LSU’s basketball program.
Head coach Will Wade and the basketball program are currently under investigation on their own for offering and providing impermissible payments to student-athletes, family members, and those associated with prospects in exchange for their enrollment at LSU. As expected, the school wants the NCAA to rule on the cases separately, while the organization has requested that both investigations be reviewed together by the IARP, or the Independent Accountability Resolution Process.
Should they decide to make a join decision on penalties, the combination of Level I violations could lead to “lack of institutional control” charges, the most severe a program can receive.
For more information on the case, read Sports Illustrated’s complete report here.