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LSU self-imposes bowl ban for 2020 season as part of NCAA case

Sam Cooper
·4 min read
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LSU, the defending national champions, will not participate in the postseason this year.

The school announced Wednesday that the football program will self-impose a one-year postseason ban as part of an ongoing NCAA case. LSU previously self-imposed an array of recruiting restrictions primarily stemming from a two-year-old case involving a booster who paid approximately $180,000 in stolen money to the father of a former LSU football player.

LSU also faced NCAA scrutiny for Odell Beckham giving out $100 bills to players after last year’s national title game and an instance of impermissible conduct with a recruit by head coach Ed Orgeron.

The Tigers have a 3-5 record with two games remaining on their schedule, so it’s no guarantee that they would have received an invitation to a bowl game despite the NCAA’s decision to waive bowl requirements this season.

Nonetheless, the university has informed the NCAA and SEC that it will self-impose a one-year bowl ban, it said in a statement:

LSU has 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, in addition to self-imposed sanctions already declared. LSU leadership 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.

This decision reflects LSU’s 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. LSU will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and IARP throughout the enforcement process.

Orgeron said he “respects” the university’s decision to “proactively address NCAA issues from the past.”

“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 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.”

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron walks the sideline during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Auburn on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron walks the sideline during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Auburn on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

LSU also self-imposed recruiting restrictions

Sports Illustrated reported in October that LSU would decrease its allotment of football scholarships by eight over the next two years and also reduce recruiting visits and communications as part of its self-imposed sanctions.

The football portion of the NCAA’s case against LSU mainly focuses on the actions of John Paul Funes, a former booster who paid approximately $180,000 of money stolen from a children’s hospital foundation to the father of former Tigers lineman Vadal Alexander over a five-year period.

In the Beckham incident, the school initially claimed the money the former LSU star was captured giving to players was fake. LSU later on acknowledged it was real and said the payments totaled $2,000, per Sports Illustrated. As a result, LSU banned Beckham, who plays for the Cleveland Browns, from its facilities for two years for what the NCAA deemed a Level III violation.

LSU men’s basketball also under investigation

The football program is facing less NCAA scrutiny than the Tigers’ men’s basketball program. The university is hoping the NCAA — whenever it hands down its punishment — handles the two programs separately.

The NCAA is accusing LSU basketball coach Will Wade of either arranging for, offering or providing impermissible benefits, including cash payments, to “at least 11” potential recruits or others around them.

The cases for both sports have been sent to the NCAA’s Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP), which was created in the aftermath of the federal investigation into corruption in college basketball. It is unclear if LSU has received a notice of allegations from the NCAA.

Wade was infamously heard discussing making a “strong-ass offer” for a recruit on a federal wiretap. Wade was initially suspended by LSU and refused to meet with school officials. He missed the team’s final regular season game, plus the Tigers’ games in the SEC and NCAA tournaments of the 2018-19 season. However, he was reinstated April 14 and coached the 2019-20 season.

Wade has denied all alleged wrongdoing.

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