LSU Football Is Self-Imposing A Bowl Ban This Season As If Its 3-5 Record Wasn’t Enough

LSU Football

iStockphoto / Roberto Michel

Less than a year removed from LSU Football‘s magical 15-0 season with QB Joe Burrow winning the Heisman Trophy the Tigers are self-imposing a bowl ban. The LSU Tigers this season are virtually unrecognizable from last season. They lost a ton of talented players to graduation and the NFL and they’ve only won 3 games (3-5) so far this season. The Tigers face the #6 ranked Florida Gators on 12/12 and Ole Miss on 12/19 so the best they could theoretically finish the season is 5-5 but they could easily finish the season 3-7.

So why are we talking about bowl eligibility to begin with? Well, 2020’s the weirdest year in modern history and the NCAA waived its normal bowl eligibility requirements. Normally, a team would need to finish the season at .500 (there are special circumstances). This year they’ve waived those requirements on wins and the number of games teams are required to play. There are 39 bowl games, so theoretically 78 of the 127 FBS teams are eligible unless they take themselves out of the running like LSU did.

It’s legitimately laughable that a 3-5 team would self-impose a bowl game ban as part of cooperation with an NCAA investigation when they wouldn’t have been eligible for a bowl game during every other year in history but here we are. The report from CBS Sports about LSU’s self-imposed ban came yesterday:

LSU announced Wednesday that it is self-imposing a bowl ban this season in conjunction with an NCAA investigation into alleged rules violations at the school. The move comes as a violations case involving LSU’s football and basketball programs matriculates through the NCAA’s new Independent Accountability Resolution Process.

“LSU has informed the NCAA and SEC that it will self-impose a one-year postseason ban on its football program for the 2020-21 bowl season, in addition to self-imposed sanctions already declared,” said a statement from the LSU athletic department. “LSU leadership made this decision after careful deliberation and review of the NCAA rules violations that have been discovered in the University’s cooperative investigation with the NCAA and IARP. This decision reflects LSU’s commitment to compliance with NCAA regulations and maintenance of institutional control. We reset the impact that this decision has on our current student-athletes, but we make it in the best interest of the football program and the University. LSU will continue to cooperate with the NCAA and IARP throughout the enforcement process.” (via CBS Sports)

LSU Football Head Coach Ed Orgeron released a statement backing LSU’s decision for the 3-5 team to forego a bowl game this season… “I respect the university’s decision to proactively address the NCAA issues from the past. I share the disappointment of our student-athletes who will not be able to compete this season in a bowl game,” Orgeron said in a statement. “I am especially proud of our players’ dedication to the program during these unprecedented times in our country. Their pride in LSU will be the driving force as we continue to build a championship program. Geaux Tigers.”

I’ve found myself doing some incredibly mental gymnastics this year to justify various teams postposing games that didn’t necessarily meet any requirements of postponement but this one seems waaaaaaaayyyyyyyy too convenient. The team is bad. Complete trash. I can say this as an FSU grad/fan because my own team is trash and has been for several years. I like the Tigers. I don’t know why but I always have. This just seems like a way to appease the NCAA that shouldn’t even be allowed.

They’re not sacrificing anything other than $$$$ by not competing in a bowl game, a bowl game they wouldn’t have been invited to in any other year anyway.

LSU’s voluntarily reduced its number or scholarships for two years and reduced its recruitment time. These are meaningful self penalties. I applaud them for that. But self-imposing a bowl ban on a team with 3 wins? Come on.

If you’re curious about what the NCAA is investigating with regards to LSU, there are allegations that a booster funneled money (that he embezzled from a hospital) to the family of a player. You can read about that here on CBS Sports.