If you want to get the attention of Louisiana, threaten their college football.
That’s the strategy that Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards took when discussing the ongoing budget crisis the state is facing. More specifically, Bel Edwards was talking about the TOPS (Taylor Opportunity Program for Students) program last night, which awards college scholarships that covers tuition for in-state students that meet certain academic criteria according to SEC Country.
Interestingly enough, LSU is the state university that has more TOPS-eligible students than any other school of higher learning in the state of Louisiana, with about 53% of all students using the scholarship program. Not surprisingly, a number of those using the program are also student-athletes.
“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,” Bel Edwards noted.
“That means you can say farewell to college football next fall.”
I know what you’re thinking…He really didn’t actually say that did he?
Kelsey Wingert, a LSU alum and director / anchor for KALBtv5 tweeted the following video so that we can all bear witness to the threat.
ICYMI: full video of Governor John Bel Edwards quote of the future of college football in Louisiana. pic.twitter.com/G42INObiBz
— Kelsey Wingert (@KelsWingert) February 12, 2016
How dire is the budget situation in Louisiana that Bel Edwards is referring to? According to various reports, the state is facing a $1 billion budget deficit this fiscal year, and a $2 billion deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
There’s no chance in hell that LSU and other Louisiana institutions won’t field college football teams in 2016, but the Governor certainly got everyone’s attention with that approach….I guess.
Hopefully Bel Edwards isn’t planning a presidential run anytime soon because, I’m no political expert, but something tells me this would DEFINITELY be dredged up.