Are LSU's Recruiting Sanctions Indicative of a Bigger Problem in Baton Rouge?

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterFebruary 27, 2015

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It's never truly the offseason unless there's some kind of scandal, and LSU is now embroiled in a scandal.

Well, a "mini-scandal," anyway.

The school was banned from signing early enrollees to financial aid agreements for two years and docked 10 percent of its recruiting evaluation days in 2015, according to Ross Dellenger of The Advocate.

The sanctions from the SEC stem from the financial aid agreement that 3-star class of 2015 offensive line prospect Matt Womack signed with LSU prior to signing a national letter of intent with Alabama.

Womack's reaction?

As B/R national recruiting writer Damon Sayles noted, LSU will be just fine on the recruiting trail. 

On the bigger scale, it will be more of the same.

This is not a sign of impending doom, a sign that head coach Les Miles is losing control or that the foundation of the LSU program is crumbling. 

This is not a sign that college football is dirty, programs are out of control or that there needs to be a massive regulatory overhaul.

It's just proof of what we already knew—the financial aid agreement process, which was instituted two years ago, is heavily slanted in favor of the prospect.

LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les MilesChris Graythen/Getty Images

Unlike the national letter of intent, which prospects sign and fax in to their schools on national signing day, the financial aid agreement binds the school to the player, but not the other way around. They are typically signed to unlock different rules that allow coaches to have unlimited contact with players even during times in which only limited contact is allowed.

Even after signing the financial aid agreement, the Womack family wasn't convinced that LSU was actually using it, according to Courtney Cronin of The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger

If it was signed, though, and some contact was made that otherwise wouldn't be allowed under normal recruiting rules, then LSU did, technically, break the rules.

That's the problem—the rules.

Basically, the whim of a teenager cost LSU quite a bit of evaluation time and two years of financial aid agreements.

Toss the two-year financial aid agreement ban out the window. It's meaningless.

After this fiasco, programs should be much more reluctant to offer them, with LSU leading the charge. This ruling doesn't prevent the Tigers from having early enrollees, it just prevents those early enrollees from signing financial aid agreements.

All this will do is force programs to be smarter when handing out financial aid agreements in the future, especially early in the recruiting cycle.

Maybe, just maybe, 3-star prospects won't get them anymore.

LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les MilesScott Halleran/Getty Images

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93, XM 208.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com unless otherwise noted, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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