LSU informed the NCAA and SEC that it will self-impose a one-year postseason ban on its football program for the 2020-21 bowl season.
The 3-5 Tigers are a loss away from a losing season. But LSU would likely have been forced to accept a bowl invitation so the SEC can fulfill all its bowl contracts.
In addition to self-imposed sanctions already declared in October, LSU made this decision after careful deliberation and review of the NCAA rules violations that have been discovered in the University’s cooperative investigation with the NCAA and IARP.
LSU said its decision reflects its commitment to compliance with NCAA regulations and maintenance of institutional control.
“We regret the impact that this decision has on our current student-athletes, but we make it in the best interest of the football program and University,” the university said in a released statement. “LSU will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and IARP throughout the enforcement process.”
LSU coach Ed Orgeron said he respected the university’s decision to proactively address the past NCAA issues.
“I share the disappointment of our student-athletes who will not be able to compete this season in a bowl game,” Orgeron said in a released statement. “I am especially proud of our players’ dedication to the program during these unprecedented times in our country. Their pride in LSU will be the driving force as we continue to build a championship program. Geaux Tigers.”
Two months ago, LSU imposed several recruiting sanctions including docking itself eight football scholarships over a two-year period.
It was LSU’s response after a nearly two-year investigation uncovered booster payments to the father of a football player. Last October, John Paul Funes, the former president and CEO of Our Lady of the Lake (OLOL) Foundation in Baton Rouge, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for stealing more than $555,000 from the foundation. Prosecutors indicated $180,000 went to the father of former LSU football lineman Vadal Alexander.
Besides reducing scholarships, LSU’s original self-imposed penalties included eliminating 12.5% of official and unofficial recruiting visits, a 21-day reduction of the normal 168 days of allowable off-campus contacts and a six-week ban in communication with prospects.
Also, LSU banned ex-former star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from its facilities for two years. Beckham distributed $2,000 worth of $100 bills to LSU players in the on-field celebration following LSU’s win over Clemson in the national championship game.
The NCAA still has the option of issuing LSU additional penalties.