Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Ed Orgeron was hired to be LSU’s head coach on Nov. 26; Tom Herman signed on for the same position at Texas on Nov. 27, reportedly after turning LSU down. Both are now in the midst of their first full spring heading up their programs, which consists of spring practices, hitting the recruiting trail, and, apparently, using state politicians to shut down recruiting camps of out-of-state opponents.

LSU and Texas are currently taking part in an incredibly petty and ultimately immoral battle over who gets to recruit in the state of Louisiana, according to Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel. SI reported early Wednesday that Texas—this time, in conjunction with Houston, Cornell and Belhaven—had its third Louisiana-based satellite camp cancelled by local and state politicians acting on LSU’s behalf.

According to SI, the first iteration of the most recent camp was scheduled for Thursday and had the location slated at a stadium near Belhaven, a D-III school in Baton Rouge, for which Belhaven coaches agreed to pay $500. But “political pressure” placed on a high school coach “threatened the stadium agreement.” After the deal was signed, Belhaven head coach Hal Mumme spoke with an assistant superintendent who “invoked a loophole in the paperwork,” forcing the camp out of the stadium.

Advertisement

According to Thamel, who spoke with Mumme Tuesday evening, the former Kentucky coach then signed an agreement with Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Hammond, La., where one of his former players is the head coach—the ink had barely dried when Saint Thomas administrators called him back to inform him that “pressure from LSU” would yet again leave the four teams without a camp. The cancellation cost Belhaven $5,000.

Madison Prep’s Mike Roach, one of the coaches that helped cobble together the doomed Baton Rouge deal, told Thamel he believes the camp was cancelled by LSU and pointed out that he recently coached three players that went to other Power Five programs, none of which were recruited by LSU:

“We’re in LSU’s backyard,” said Mike Roach, the coach at Madison Prep in Baton Rouge and the father of Texas player Malcolm Roach. “Louisiana home cooking may have played a part in it.”​

The five-star recruits being denied facetime with a Texas assistant are being harmed by LSU’s political bullying, but the larger group of victims in this childish attempt to protect state lines are the high school football prospects that neither team is attempting to recruit. Five-star recruits that programs like LSU and Texas recruit aren’t always going to turn out in droves at one of their satellite camps; it’s going to filled with one- and two-star players looking to impress the coaches at Belhaven, Cornell, and Houston. Now, thanks to LSU’s repeated actions—this is the third time this recruiting season that the Tigers have had a hand in chasing the Longhorns from the state—the unheralded players in their state have been denied an otherwise golden opportunity to speak with coaches that they would otherwise be unable to interact with.

Advertisement

Louisiana high school coaches were already frustrated with Orgeron over staff decisions; him attempting to deny outside schools access to a state that produces the NCAA’s third-highest percentage of high school recruits has, predictably, not gone over smoothly with prep coaches who just want to send as many of their players to college as possible.

“If you are the head coach at LSU, you should want the other kids in your state to have an opportunity,” Mumme said. “Ed needs to think about those kids that aren’t going to get a scholarship to LSU. I’ve been in the SEC as the coach of the (flagship) university of the state. You have show respect to those other kids as well.”

A month ago, Orgeron told SI, “protecting the state of Louisiana is always going to be my job as the coach of LSU.” That’s all fine and good, but Ed, for the state of Louisiana’s sake, just stop being a dick.

[Sports Illustrated]