Calm Before The NCAA Storm At LSU, A Play For Pay Scandal Breaks SoonDecember 4, 2009
Since Les Miles took over many good things have happened at LSU. They won another national championship, they've hauled in great recruiting classes and Miles has has kept the program clean.
Or has he?
Today LSUreveille.com broke the news that will sadden many LSU fans and should cause them to shake in fear. Apparently a coach on Les Miles' staff has paid a player to transfer to LSU from Sacramento City Community College in California.
Junior defensive lineman Akiem Hicks is the player under focus and apparently there is enough smoking guns to warrant an immediate reaction from LSU.
This transgression and egregious violation has now also started an NCAA probe which could result in severe penalties for the LSU program.
LSU has already started damage control by saying Les Miles' job is not on the line for this violation.
While LSU coach Les Miles’ contract states he has “an obligation personally to comply with and to exercise due care that all personnel and students subject to his direct control or authority comply with governing athletic rules,” LSU Chancellor Michael Martin released a statement Tuesday saying Miles’ job will not be affected by the alleged violations.
“This situation has absolutely zero impact on the employment contract of coach Les Miles,” Martin said in the statement. “He has been highly cooperative in this matter and from the earliest stages has actively participated in the process of resolving this situation.
In other words, they are saying Les Miles had no knowledge of this until it became public to everyone else.
In a sense, it's hard to say which is worse. Having a coach paying a player to attend your school or having a head coach who has no idea that such things are being done in his program.
Following a second straight disappointing season, the news comes at a bad time for the Tigers as they prepare for the upcoming bowl game.
The good news is that the player in question has not played in any games and therefore no losses would be forfeited, however taking money makes Hicks a professional and therefore voids his status as an amateur, making him ineligible.
As for Coach D.J. McCarthy, he was already planning on jumping ship at the end of the season and going to Memphis along with LSU running back coach Larry Porter. It will be interesting to see if Porter would still want him if he's the focus of NCAA scrutiny however.
Hicks was a much sought out lineman and was also pursued by many other schools including Tennessee before landing at LSU.
Pay for play is one of the more serious charges the NCAA can level. Having it come from a coach makes it even more serious and can cause the dreaded "Lack of Institutional Control" label.
For LSU fans, this off season won't be filled with speculation over which recruits the Miles staff comes in with this year, but what penalties this staff, or at least this one coach, will bring down upon them.