…over the hiring of Brian Kelly as LSU’s new football coach. Campbell, who has run his regulatory extortion game as the public service commissioner from the northern part of the state for two decades while failing consistently to move up to statewide office, just couldn’t help himself but to pen an op-ed at the Advocate whining about the money LSU is spending on Kelly.
Kelly will receive $9 million per year starting with his first year as Tiger head coach. That figure will rise with incentives in the deal, plus two cars, an interest-free home loan worth more than $1 million, and buyout of his contract with Notre Dame.
To put those numbers in perspective, the U.S. Census Bureau says Louisiana’s per capita annual income averages $27,923.
LSU can now claim the highest-paid coach at a public university in America. Is this a record our state should be proud of?
What if Coach Kelly suffers the fate of several of his LSU predecessors and loses five games in a season? The same football fans now singing his praises will be calling for another multi-million-dollar coach buyout like those enjoyed by Les Miles and Ed Orgeron.
For Kelly, that could easily mean $50 million just to get him to leave.
What message are we sending the nation when Louisiana raises millions of dollars for a football coach while LSU’s academic rankings continue to drop, our library walls mold and many of our best teachers leave the classroom? When our Interstate highways fill with college graduates headed to jobs in Texas every spring? When we score lower in academics than every SEC school except Mississippi State?
Campbell is probably the foremost attention whore in all of Louisiana politics, so it’s no surprise he rushes out this scoldy leftist drivel while Kelly is still working on putting his coaching staff together.
There’s so much wrong with what this one-eyed hillbilly political hack has dumped on the public we could write a book about it, but we’ll just stick to the simple basics.
First, there is no either-or here. Brian Kelly getting a 10-year, $95 million contract at LSU has no negative effect on the academic side of the university. At all. Kelly is paid out of a different pool of money than LSU’s professors and staff are. LSU’s athletic department is self-sustaining, and it’s run like a business. And Kelly’s contract isn’t all that much more lucrative than the one Ed Orgeron had before athletic director Scott Woodward sent him packing. Orgeron made a reported $9 million this year.
Particularly with the SEC television revenues about to flood into the LSU athletic department, LSU can easily afford Kelly’s contract. What LSU can’t afford is a football program which doesn’t compete at a high level. Without a waiting list of companies willing to pay top dollar for suites in Tiger Stadium and a robust season ticket base, these things don’t work. And in Kelly, Woodward found the single least-risky coach in college football in terms of assuring the Tigers will stick in the Top 10 and compete for championships.
What that contract signifies is that LSU is committed to winning in football and that LSU is pursuing excellence. Hiring Jay Johnson and Kim Mulkey signified the same thing. But of course Foster Campbell didn’t write any op-eds bitching about the super-lucrative contract that Woodward gave Mulkey, did he? Wonder why that was?
Second, if there is mold in LSU’s library, what does that have to do with football? Is LSU’s $450 million-plus budget not enough to include mold remediation? What’s LSU spending that money on, then, and why isn’t Foster Campbell bitching about the incompetence of the administration in taking care of its physical plant? Did he have anything to say about the massive contract given to Jim Bernhard to provide energy to the university, if somehow LSU was in extremis financially?
Maybe LSU is losing professors because of things which don’t have anything to do with athletics. It could be that some of them aren’t excited about the woke direction the university has been taking. It could be that just like lots of people in Louisiana, these people have decided to vacate the state for greener pastures elsewhere – something Foster Campbell probably doesn’t want to talk about since his buddy John Bel Edwards’ policies are the same ones Campbell has been spoiling for since Jesus was a freshman.
At its heart, though, what Bananas Foster is howling about is that the big-money LSU boosters who are providing the funds to pay for Kelly’s contract are writing those checks without some slimeball politician demanding it. He thinks all the money is the government’s, and therefore public policy should dictate what LSU’s football coach is paid rather than the market.
He’s painfully wrong about that, of course, and his views on economics are as painfully moronic as they are authoritarian.
North Louisiana has inflicted this troglodyte on the rest of us for far too long. The good news is in a few years Bananas Foster will finally term out of the PSC and then we can be rid of him. Let’s hope we’ll be rid of his stupid brand of socialist politics soon as well.