As reported by ESPN, a major budget crisis in the state of Louisiana could have drastic effects on the state’s collegiate athletic programs, including LSU football. On Thursday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards stated in a statewide televised address that campuses could run out of money and be forced to shut down in April, highlighting the LSU football team as one of the many programs that could be lost as a result of massive budget cuts to the state’s higher education funding.
In a statement to The Times-Picayune, Gov. Bel Edwards said:
“If you are a student attending one of these universities, it means that you will receive a grade of incomplete, many students will not be able to graduate, and student-athletes across the state at those schools will be ineligible to play next semester. That means you can say farewell to college football next fall.”
Along with LSU, other public universities in the state such as UL-Monroe, UL-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Grambling State, McNeese State, Southern University, and Nicholls State (all have D-1 or D-1AA football programs) could be facing some major issues due to the budget crisis and be forced to cut back on scholarships, funds to maintain their facilities, pay stadium/team employees, or even drop their programs as a whole.
Even if the 2016 season were to be saved for the Tigers and the other D-1/D-1AA football teams at public universities throughout the state, the state of Louisiana will be facing a similar issue in 2017 (fiscal year) when the state faces a $2 Billion budget shortfall, according to The Times-Picayune.
This is obviously a very serious issue down in the Bayou, and it cannot be taken lightly. For those believing this is some sort of scare tactic by the state of Louisiana to try and expand their funds and, therefore, is not a real issue, think again as Gov. Bel Edwards stated this to reporters on Friday:
“These are not scare tactics. This is reality. An unstable state budget will not only hurt children and working families in our state, it will devastate communities, businesses, and local government as well.”
Hopefully, the state of Louisiana can find a way to cover their budget so that the state does not go without its most beloved time of the year when college football season kicks off in August, but right now, things are not looking too good.