“Poor timing”: LSU board tables vote to increase Les Miles’ bonus pay

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Tiger Rag Editor

Les Miles will have to wait on his $100,000 check.

LSU’s Athletic Committee opted to defer a scheduled vote to add $100,000 in incentive pay to the contract of head coach Les Miles, saying the item wasn’t “time critical.”

“Poor timing,” said committee member Scott Angelle, who offered a motion to defer the discussion after the committee had already moved on to other topics. “Those kinds of things should happen after the season.”

Miles’ incentive boost, on the agenda due to the potential addition of one game the College Football Playoff adds to the old Bowl Championship Series system of crowning college football’s national champion, was the first item on the committee’s agenda, but chairman Blake Chatelain brushed right past it, saying the committee would table it until a later date.

This caught many present, including long-time Faculty Senate President Dr. Kevin Cope, by surprise.

“I have never seen an item pertaining to compensation for athletic personnel simply vanish from the agenda without much of a comment,” he said.

Angelle and committee chair Blake Chatelain both denied there was any message behind the deferment. The board typically passes athletics items with no objection or delay — as they did Friday with three other items, including contract changes for baseball coach Paul Mainieri and golf coach Chuck Winstead. Approval of items is quick, taking just a matter of seconds, but Chatelain and Angelle agreed Miles’ pay boost needed to be dealt with another day. 

“You never know how long one of those items will take,” Chatelain said. “We thought it would be better to discuss it another day. When we have time.”

The amendments to Winstead and Mainieri’s contracts took less than a minute combined.

“No message,” said Angelle. “Those kinds of things should take place after the season, so you have something by which to judge performance.”

Dr. Cope isn’t buying their logic.

“I think they certainly were attempting to send some kind of message, that they were nervous, perhaps, about the outcome of the football season and what that might portend with regard to contracts for coaches,” he said. “I wish they could say they were interested in trying to restrain salaries for coaches, which have become obscene and immoral, but I suspect the message was otherwise.”

Cope said the timing argument didn’t hold up, in his eyes, either, agreeing that he’s never seen a contract modification for an LSU coach tabled for that reason before.

“In my experience there is no such thing as timing when it comes to the supervisors and athletics if they decide there is an opportunity to increase the compensation or otherwise retain a coach or assistant coach,” he said. “It is perhaps a good thing for this reason: the board exercised some restraint as far as increasing compensation for coaches. But frankly, I don’t buy the timing argument at all.”

Chatelain opened the Athletic Committee meeting with four agenda items. Miles’ contract was the first, but he dismissed it — without naming Miles or specifying the motion. The move to defer did not require a motion from the rest of the committee members, so Chatelain moved on to item number two — Mainieri’s contract — but that didn’t stop Scott Angelle from offering one.

“It is not time critical so we are going to defer that to a later meeting later this year,” said Chatelain, “so we’ll pick up with item number two…”

“I move to defer,” Angelle said. “You want a motion?”

“I don’t think we need it,” Chatelain siad, “So, um, but thank you.”

Angelle’s unnecessary motion elicited a round of quiet laughter from the rest of the board.

After the meeting, Angelle — who is running for Congress — said that last year’s near-firing of Miles has led the board to reconsider how it handles business pertaining to LSU’s coaches.

“I think last year was handled very poorly,” Angelle said. “Anytime you have something handled poorly, it makes sense to make sure you don’t repeat those mistakes. This to me was more of a timing issue. Last year was more the management of the situation.”

Angelle did not attend or watch LSU’s season-opening 16-14 loss to Wisconsin — “I was campaigning,” he said — but voiced a shared dissatisfaction with LSU’s start to the season.

“Obviously there’s a lot of disappointment,” he said. “That disappointment has been recognized by everyone, including the head coach. He took responsibility for a poor performance. They have the opportunity, and we wish them the best of luck, to perform well on Saturday.”

LSU begins its home opener at 6:30 against 2015 FCS runners up Jacksonville State.


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Cody Worsham

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