The seven-year-old LSU Athletic Department policy that annually transfers $7.2 million to the University’s General Fund will likely be discontinued, according to athletic director Scott Woodward.
Woodward announced that the athletic department will still provide financial support to the University, but the current fund transfer policy will likely be discontinued after this year, according to Greater Baton Rouge Business Report.
“We are going to start looking at providing one-time funding to the University, whether for a building or some improvements that are needed or something like that,” Woodward said in a speech to the Baton Rouge Rotary Club on Wednesday. “But this year, the University will get its full $11 million.”
The policy was originally implemented by former athletic director Joe Alleva in 2012 when the University was suffering from declining enrollment and higher education budget cuts approved under former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration.
Woodward said he understands how dire the University’s financial situation was in 2012 and how those circumstances led to the fund transfer policy.
“I watched it from afar. It was criminal what they did and Joe Alleva did the right thing,” Woodward said.
Since its implementation, the athletic department has transferred about $66 million to the University. Woodward’s original statements about a potential reevaluation of the policy in July were met with backlash, particularly on social media.
About one week before Woodward’s announcement, the University athletic department unveiled the $28 million renovations to the football operations building.
While the new locker room was covered in purple and gold and even featured individual sleep pods, some members of the LSU community were quick to mention the stark contrast between the state of the locker room and the neglect d conditions of other buildings on campus.
Political Science senior Catherine McKinney posted a picture of Middleton Library’s flooded basement in response to a video of the renovated building.
Many people were quick to point out the football operations building was completely funded by private donations through the Tiger Athletic Foundation, but others responded that the University’s academic budget concerns should be prioritized by the University and donors alike.
Prior to Woodward’s announcement, Senior Associate athletic director Robert Munson said the University’s Athletic Department will continue to financially support the University even if the current policy were to be discontinued.
“Athletics will always support the University, but we want to find a way to do it that is sustainable for all of LSU,” Munson said. “We are working with the University to do just that, and any change would require approval of the President and the Board of Supervisors.”
Woodward said the University’s financial situation has improved under Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration, while the athletic department is experiencing greater financial pressure according to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. As such, Woodward said the current fund-transfer policy cannot be sustained.