I am back from vacation (for a few days before a few more days away to move into our first home) and it appears I may have missed some drama.
While I may have drank a few too many tropical beverages on the beach over the last several days, it sounds like the folks at LSU may have had one too many cocktails themselves with the news I have caught up on since my departure.
So let me get this straight: Ed Orgeron is being blamed for basically throwing around his weight with high schools in order to block Texas Longhorns and Houston Cougars from hosting satellite camps in the state of Louisiana. And LSU's official comment on the matter is "No comment", which pretty much confirms this to be true.
I have a number of thoughts about this situation.
First of all, kudos to Bellhaven head coach Hal Mumme for openly speaking on the record about the situation going down with the Tigers. That's a tough thing to do, especially for a small-school Division III coach, so hats off to him.
That's about all of the positive things I can say on this topic.
Here's my bone to pick with LSU, and more so Ed Orgeron. After working in this industry for several years, I am fairly confident every single college football coach in the country has at one time or another talked about how college athletics are about the "student athletes" first, and setting up those same student athletes for a better life after their sports careers end.
How exactly is LSU and Orgeron doing that?
When Orgeron was announced as the head coach of LSU, athletic director Joe Alleva had the following remarks to say about the coach.
"At the end of the day, we're striving for a culture of excellence here at LSU -- on the field, off the field, in the classroom and in the community -- and Coach 'O' gets that. ... I don't think there's another coach in the country with a bigger heart and a bigger will to succeed than Coach O."
The remarks from Alleva about LSU's head coach are entirely contradictory to what happened this week in Louisiana.
I understand college coaches want to protect their home turf and try to keep recruits in state. It happens at every school in the country, the University of Texas included.
The difference is Orgeron's now successful attempts to block other schools from hosting satellite camps in Louisiana not only directly contradicts what Alleva had to say about Orgeron's "heart" and striving for a "culture of excellence" in the community, it also is inhibiting prospects in the state, who will never receive an offer from LSU, from getting the attention and/or possibility for success in their football careers.
This should not be about a Texas, or Houston, or Bellhaven vs. LSU issue. This is an LSU and Ed Orgeron issue.
The reality of the situation is there's a chance not a single D-I offer would have been extended to prospects in attendance at the cancelled satellite camps. Not from Texas and not from Houston. However, there is a better possibility a lesser-known prospect may have gained interest from Bellhaven, and eventually nabbed an offer to play D-III college football. So how is strong-arming high schools from partnering with any out-of-state schools, D-I and beyond, reflecting a culture of "excellence" by LSU officials, when LSU isn't even recruiting some of these prospects?
The sad truth is a lot of high school football players are not in financial situations that will allow them to travel to attend camps. And the state of Louisiana is not known for it's supreme wealth.
But it's all about the kids, right?