MULE’: Exactly How Much is a Championship Worth?
What price glory? Or, in less poetic language, exactly how much is a championship worth?
It’s a question worth pondering, especially at LSU, now that Ryan Perrilloux has been exiled to the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly the more clearly defined Division 1-AA) – which in hindsight seems to have been his preordained destination all along.
Thought of in one way, that a much ballyhooed recruit ended his time at LSU with so much potential and so little to show for it, Perrilloux was a major disappointment. Last season he appeared in 12 of the Tigers’ 14 games, completing 51 of 75 passes (68 percent) for 694 yards and eight touchdowns. Not bad for a backup, but pretty modest for a guy who proclaimed at his signing out of high school that he’d win a couple of Heismans before he was through. But sad for a guy whose LSU career ended with just two career starts.
Thought of in another way, though, Perrilloux was as important as any member on the roster of LSU’s 2007 national championship squad. Without him to step in for the injured Matt Flynn for the SEC Championship Game, turning in an MVP performance for a 20-of-30 for 294 yards and a laser-like touchdown pass performance day.
Without Perrilloux at that point, it’s fair to believe the Tigers might never have finished its season celebrating their second BCS title in four years on the Superdome floor – a victory, it should be noted, that came against an Ohio State team not nearly as formidable as the Tennessee Vols Perrilloux was thrown against.
So, was this fellow who was suspended three times – for being briefly linked, but never charged, with a counterfeiting scheme; for trying underage to enter a casino with a false ID; for a nightclub fight, for which film indicated he was not at fault; and finally and for good for a reported failed drug test – worth the time, effort and aggravation to LSU?
From strictly a monetary consideration, consider: Perrilloux was on an athletic grant-in-aid at LSU for three years, worth a total of $45,000. Add to that whatever it cost to recruit Perrilloux, who grew up less than a hundred miles from Baton Rouge. Because he was such a hot commodity, with a dozen high-profile programs vying for his services, it probably cost the Tigers more than the usual outlay for an in-state recruit, so let’s estimate LSU spent $5,000 more in wooing Perrilloux.
What is even more murky is the money Les Miles – and his Tiger coaching staff – expended in Excedrin, valium, and other assorted anxiety relievers. With Perrilloux, who sometimes seemed to be a magnet for off-the-field troubles, that could have been a ton.
So could another unknown expenditure that could have been pricey: the retention of a lawyer, who could have had a one-client practice.
Just for the sake of argument, let’s say with all things lumped together, and given the very widest perimeters, Perrilloux’s connection to Tigertown cost LSU $100,000. That’s not counting the bad publicity, or the embarrassing and widespread sense that this was a case of another coddled athlete being given more chances than a walk-on, or any average student could expect.
Still, in the four months since the BCS national championship game – which the Tigers may never have gotten a sniff at had Perrilloux not been on hand and ready to step in – LSU trademark merchandise sales has brought in more than a million dollars.
That would translate to a $900,000 profit.
Marty Mule’ can be reached at MJM981@Bellsouth.net