Orgeron and Pelini contracts approved, men’s basketball and gymnastics season ticket prices increased in some areas

The LSU Board of Supervisors officially made Ed Orgeron an almost $7 million man Friday afternoon at its March meeting on the LSU campus.

The board also approved new defensive coordinator Bo Pelini’s contract.

Also, the board approved a contract for new soccer coach Siam Hudson.

The board approved a season ticket price increase for gymnastics and an increase of season ticket prices for men’s basketball in most parts of the arena with a few reductions.

LSU athletic director Scott Woodward told the board that Orgeron’s contract “is the worst kept secret in the history of LSU.”

Orgeron’s six-year, $41 million deal officially began Jan. 14, the day after LSU beat Clemson in the College Football Playoff national championship game and ends Dec. 31, 2025.

His annual salary of $6.833,333 ranks him sixth nationally among major college coaches and fourth in the SEC behind Alabama’s Nick Saban, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Georgia’s Kirby Smart.

If Orgeron agrees to terminate the contract leaving LSU for another job, he’ll owe LSU a declining percentage of his one-year compensation to terminate at the end of five years, with an exception in the event of him taking an SEC coaching position in the first four years of his new contract.

If LSU fires Orgeron, it will pay Orgeron 70 percent of the remaining years on his contract. If LSU fires Oregron with cause, it owes him nothing as mutually agreed in a clause in his contract.

“Coach O took this job with a lot of skeptical people, me included, as then an A.D. somewhere else and as an alumnus,” Woodward said. “He has outperformed and outdone everyone’s expectations. He’s done it the way we like to do it, the LSU way. He cares our about kids, loves them hard, makes sure they get their education and does all the right things.

“This is a very fair contract, it’s fair to market. It’s not crazy, it’s competitive and it’s going to reward a guy who is Louisiana’s own.”

Also getting rubberstamped as part of Orgeron’s contract is a supplemental benefit plan paid for by the Tiger Athletic Council that includes a life insurance policy for Oregron amounting to $5 million paid in two installments in the fiscal years of 2020 and 2021.

Also approved was Orgeron’s incentive compensation being amended to award him $200,000 annually if the football team’s academic progress rate scores 960 or more.

The board also approved increases for Orgeron of $187,500 for personal travel and up to $20,000 in legal expenses.

Pelini’s 3-year $1.8 million annual deal automatically made him one of college football’s highest paid assistants.

“We were very lucky to get a guy in Coach Pelini, who was Coach Orgeron’s first choice,” Woodward said. “I know (the salary) is at the high end of the market, but I think Coach Pelini’s resume in (coaching) defensive teams here at LSU (previously) and other places has proved his worth. I backed Coach Orgeron 1000 percent on this. I know Bo and he’s going to lead us to continue to have great defenses at LSU.”

If Pelini leaves LSU to coach another SEC school, he must pay LSU 100 percent of the remaining compensation on his contract. If he leaves for a non-coaching position, at a Division 1 school, he must pay LSU 50 percent of one-year of total compensation. If he leaves for any coaching position at non-SEC Division 1 schools or the NFL, he owes nothing.

If LSU fires Pelini, it owes him the remainder of the contract at the point of his termination and will be paid in equal monthly installments for the remaining length of his contract.

If LSU fires Pelini with cause, it owes him nothing as mutually agreed in a clause in his contract.

New soccer coach Hudson, with a five-year deal, will make $165,000 in 2020 with increases of $5,000 per year. It means Hudson will earn $170,000 for 2021, $175,000 for 2022, $180,000 for 2023, $185,000 for 2024.

Gymnastics season tickets, which were $40 for adults and $20 for children (ages 3-12) in the 100 Level Prime and 200 Level Prime are now $80 for adults and $40 for children 100 Level Prime and $65 for adults and $35 for children in 200 Level Prime.

In 200 Level End and the 300 Level, the prices had been $30 for adults and $18 for children. Those will increase to $55 for adults and $25 for children in 200 Level End and $36 for adults and $18 (no increase) for 300 Level.

In the 2018 fiscal year in LSU’s most recent athletic department financial report, gymnastics lost $2,404,936 despite leading the SEC and placing second nationally that season in average attendance at 12,009 per meet.

Most of the men’s basketball season ticket prices were raised as well as the annual donation required to purchase them.

For instance, four lower levels (two on each) closest to mid-court had their total 2019-20 season price of $750 ($250 ticket, $500 donation) raised to the total 2020-21 price of $1100 ($450 ticket, $650 donation)

There were also seat configurations placed in sections with new price levels that they hadn’t been before.

Season ticket prices are being raised in every section by $100 to $200 except for selected upper deck sections. There is one level of upper deck seats that lowered its ticket prices and cut out a required donation.

“It’s an interim and ongoing process that began years ago, and only three years of the plan was implemented.” Woodward said. “This is the last phase of the plan. We feel this is a very, very fair proposal.”

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Ron Higgins

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