University of Louisiana head football coach Billy Napier is pushing his scholarship players to give back to the school.
According to Kevin Foote of The Acadiana Advocate, Napier instituted a new rule in which scholarship players are "encouraged" to be members of the Ragin' Cajun Athletic Foundation for a minimum of $50.
Meanwhile, it is optional for walk-on players to partake.
Napier discussed the rationale behind the new initiative:
"It's all about gratitude. ... That's probably a little bit unheard of and a little bit unique, but I think this is a place where that would be appreciated. I think it's part of the type of program that we want to have. We want our players to be educated and understand the benefits that come with being a student-athlete and that is not something that should be taken lightly—the effort and time and investment that the people that support athletes at UL have put in into this program."
The second-year head coach also discussed his hope that getting players to donate now will galvanize them to continue doing so after their college playing careers are over: "We're trying to create a scenario where five or 10 years from now these are guys who will give back and continue to be a part of the program and realize what this place did for them. I think we got that message across this morning and certainly that was a good thing."
Napier's new rule may be somewhat controversial since he is asking players to make monetary donations despite the fact that they are not paid for the revenue they help generate for the NCAA.
Louisiana hired Napier as its head coach prior to last season after he spent time at Clemson, South Carolina State, Alabama, Colorado State and Arizona State as an assistant.
During his first season at Louisiana, Napier led the Ragin' Cajuns to a 7-7 record and a berth in the AutoNation Cure Bowl.