Public Service Commissioner – LSU Coach Contract ‘Too Much Money’
How much money is too much money? Apparently, in the world of politics and college football, there is no such thing as too much money. This is why I had to chuckle just a little bit when I was reading the comments of Louisiana Public Service Commission member Foster Campbell.
Mr Campbell has gone on record as saying he thinks the new contract agreed to between LSU and its new football coach Brian Kelly is a lot on the outrageous side. Campbell was quoted by the Louisiana Radio Network as saying the $100 million-plus deal offered to Kelly is "way too much money".
Just to be clear, I understand Mr Campbells concerns about spending that kind of money on a guy to coach a football team. I too have vocalized many times my thoughts about the disparity between athletics and academics at our state's universities, not just LSU.
But maybe Mr Campbell is doing just a little bit of grandstanding on this issue?
The facts of Coach Kelly's contract while at first blush seem totally out of balance with the actual mission of LSU. However, they are in fact not as big of a drain on the academic sector as one would imagine. Most of Coach Kelly's compensation and the compensation of the assistant coaches will be paid for by LSU booster donations and not be a direct burden on the taxpayers of the state.
Speaking of boosters, the Louisiana Radio Network is reporting that Campbell is an avid LSU supporter and has been for decades. A story on the LRN website suggested that Campbell has been a season ticket holder for more than four decades, so I am sure he "understands" why LSU did what they did for the football program.
But in the world of political posturing and maybe because there is an election around the corner offering a critique of what seems to be an extreme state expenditure can only help you look better in the eyes of the public. And bringing up statements that suggest students at LSU will suffer at the hands of LSU athletics sure sounds like the kind of fodder that political campaigns are built on.
Just to be clear, I have no personal gripe with Foster Campbell. I think he has served our state to the best of his ability on the Public Service Commission. And, I actually agree with him on the issue of paying hundreds of millions of dollars for a football coach.
But if you look deeper, a winning football program usually brings in a lot more money for the school than it costs. This is why I have no trouble looking at Coach Kelly's hire as an investment. Hopefully, one that will pay dividends and keep season ticket holders like Mr. Campbell in his seat or is it suite at Tiger Stadium for many seasons to come.
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