It has come to my attention that some people are up in arms about the LSU Tigers football team’s new locker room. Some have suggested that so much money should not have been spent on a locker room at an institution of higher learning. While I do understand the other side of this argument, I will have to disagree on the notion of deservedness. If anyone deserves a new locker room of this magnitude down in Baton Rouge, its the team that plays it home games in a home stadium affectionately known as “Death Valley.”
The LSU football team, while not usually at the top in revenue generated in its own conference, it is often planted firmly in the top 10 of football programs in the country (Forbes). However, that’s not the end of it. There is generating revenue, and then there is turning a profit, and the football program consistently knows about that as well. In the 2016–2017 academic year there were only three of the seventeen athletic programs at LSU that turned a profit that totaled just shy of $60 million (football, basketball, and baseball)…the football program accounted for $56 million. When you see the chart below, you will see that the football program generated enough to cover the losses of the other programs with money to spare.
Also in 2018, the entire athletic program generated just shy of $150 million…23% percent of that came from football ticket sales alone(The Advocate).
Before anyone thinks I am an LSU homer, well I am not. I live in Big Orange Country(Tennessee), and LSU is a conference rival. As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as being a country that cares about education and wanting to help the academics of our higher learning institutions. I understand that the library needs a massive upgrade and that you have professors cleaning classrooms with items they purchased at Walmart. Yes, I even agree that players should be paid at the collegiate level(that’s another conversation for another day). But the fact of the matter is that we definitely love our football and LSU is no exception. Seeing as that the locker room was paid for by private donations, where you think those donors want to see that money going? Spoiler alert, it’s not towards a new university center. People like putting their money on winning teams and on LSU’s campus the football team is one of the surest things when it comes to getting a return on investment. Sure those private donors won’t get money back from their investment, but the ROI for them is to be able to say that they had a part in a championship-winning football program. So before we get all high and mighty ask yourself would you rather watch football or cheer on the LSU robotics club compete in a STEM competition?
That’s what I thought. See ya on Saturdays.