While details of a new contract for Emmert were not disclosed, LSU System president Dr. William Jenkins said conversations were taking place toward reaching a new deal with the chancellor. Emmert was appointed Chancellor at LSU in April 1999, replacing Jenkins after his promotion to system president.
Emmert was being considered for the president's post in the USC system. After returning from his trip to South Carolina, Emmert met with Foster, members of his executive staff, legislative leaders, Jenkins and members of the LSU Board of Supervisors.
"Our discussions focused not on Mark Emmert – in fact I wasn't really much of a topic of conversation at all - but on the infinitely more important subject of Louisiana State University and its future," Emmert said in his opening remarks to the media.
The center of the talks dealt primarily with the funding of student, research and facility needs at LSU, Emmert said. He stressed Louisiana's potential economic and cultural boost from a nationally recognized research university. While complementing the effort of LSU's faculty and staff, the chancellor noted that the university could not become "the needed engine for the future of Louisiana" without greater attention and support.
He pointed out that LSU is the most poorly funded university of its kind in the nation, spending about $1,000 less per student than Mississippi State.
"Through my discussions with the governor, legislators, President Jenkins and the leaders of our university, I've become convinced now that there exists a renewed commitment to help LSU become the nationally competitive research university Louisiana deserves," said Emmert. "I'm confident they will join us all to work very hard and very long to help realize this vision for Louisiana's future. I'm enormously impressed with the conviction and the focus that I have seen in the past few days.
"Similarly, DeLane (his wife) and I have been simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of support that's come to us in the past few days. We love being part of the LSU family. We love the people of Louisiana.
"For these reasons and a myriad of others," Emmert continued, "we've chosen to remain at Louisiana State University and to continue to work hard with friends and colleagues to continue to restore LSU to its rightful place as one of America's great universities."
Emmert made reference to a recent article in The Advocate about the outward flow of young professionals from Louisiana - mostly LSU graduates - to other states for better economic opportunities. By making it possible for LSU to compete against other universities across the country, he believes Louisiana will benefit in terms of jobs for its residents. In addition, the school will begin to attract the best students and faculty from around the country.
Emmert's decision to stay at LSU comes while an internal investigation continues into allegations of wrongdoing within the Academic Center for Athletes. The probe involves claims of improper academic assistance given to student-athletes.
- Look for more details on Emmert's decision to stay at LSU in the March 19 issue of Tiger Rag.