BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - LSU is looking into possibly making changes to its current policy of the athletics department contributing to the academic side of the university.
In an interview with Tiger Rag, new LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward said the fund-transfer policy currently in place in which the athletic department contributes money to the academic institution will change.
When reached for comment, LSU athletics said the transfer policy is not changed for 2019, but it is being re-evaluated. The department added Woodward made it clear in the interview that athletics will always support the university, but officials want to find a way to do it that is sustainable for all of LSU.
According to sources, there was an agreement about ten years ago that athletics would help out the university with budget issues. Sources said more than $100 million has been donated back to the institution in the last decade. Because the current fiscal year just started, no changes to that policy will be possible until the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2020.
LSU recently unveiled a new $28 million renovation to its football operations and nutrition center, which sparked an outcry from students and faculty about a number of budget concerns the university itself is facing, including the state of Middleton Library, which currently has flood damage among other longer-lasting issues.
Sources at LSU confirmed the discussions about possible policy changes began long before the locker room news came out the week of July 22. They emphasized no changes can happen without the approval of Alexander and the Board of Supervisors.
The report by Tiger Rag stated under former athletic director, Joe Alleva, LSU Athletics provided nearly $50 million to the university between 2012 and 2017, despite an initial guarantee of a $36 million contribution over that time span.
The locker room includes nap pods and a new “performance nutrition center” for athletes to recover quickly. According to the university, other programs have sleep rooms for their football programs and LSU wanted to replicate this by including nap pods for players to use.
The LSU community took to Twitter after a video was released of the locker rooms. Users were upset at the current state of the rest of campus, including a failing Middleton Library.
The locker room renovation was paid for by the Tiger Athletic Foundation.
“There’s no student money, no academic money, no tuition or fees, or state dollars used in the renovation of the football operations center, which includes the locker room,” said Kristine Sanders, interim vice president of communications at LSU. “That’s private donations done through the Tiger Athletic Foundation.”
At the ribbon cutting for the facility, LSU President F. King Alexander said the school’s priority remains on academics.
“We want to win Heisman trophies and Butkus awards, but we also want to win Nobel Prizes and that’s what great public universities do,” said Alexander. “They do as many things possible and they do them the best they possibly can and that’s what we’re striving to achieve for every student athlete and striving to achieve for every student on this great university’s campus.”
He also listed a number of projects that are improving the academic experience at LSU.