But in addition to preparing our
flash back to the previous year, we have experienced one of the busiest summers
in recent memory. Since our last issue on June 10, LSU has hired a new baseball
coach, lost two prominent athletes to the ranks of professional sports, watched
a former LSU women’s hoops star become a WNBA All-Star, ushered five former LSU
star athletes to the hall of fame and rewarded four coaches all with new
contracts and lots of money.
While it has been a rather
newsworthy summer, there is one storyline that sticks out above all the
Typically, I reserve the pages of
Tiger Rag for sports coverage from the campus of LSU. Seldom do I dive off into
the deep end of the pool dissecting the bureaucracy surrounding the political
side of LSU.
However, there have been
developments on the LSU Board of Supervisors that needs to be brought to the
attention of Tiger fans everywhere.
Over the course of the past several
weeks, the terms of four of the sitting members of the LSU Board of Supervisors
have expired and each were due for re-appointment.
Two of those members, Ronnie
Anderson and Stewart Slack, were not re-appointed by Gov. Kathleen Blanco.
Two others, Marty Chabert and
longtime board member Charlie Cusimano, have not been re-appointed, but have not
been replaced as of press time.
“Marty Chabert and Charlie Cusimano
are still in limbo,” outgoing board member Ronnie Anderson told Tiger Rag. “They
have not been re-appointed, but no one has been appointed in their places so
they are still serving.”
After nine years of service,
an initial call from Blanco’s office then was officially relieved of his seat on
the board via a letter.
“I got a letter from the governor’s
office saying ‘sorry,’ that I was not being re-appointed to the board,”
“She (Blanco) ‘thanked me for my dedication to the board.’ The governor has
total control of the board and who serves on it. She wanted to put some new
blood on the board. Our terms are staggered and it just so happens that a lot of
us came up for re-appointment at the same time.”
Conspiracy theorists everywhere
have come out of the woodwork and the rumor mill has heated up in recent months.
Since LSU Systems President William Jenkins announced he would retire, a debate
ensued over who would replace the highly successfully and wildly popular
“There have been some things going
on with president Jenkins,” Anderson said. “He has until August 2008 before
his normal retirement date would be reached. Some of us felt like there was a
little bit too much haste in pursuing someone to fill his position. Then there
were the rumors about Sally Clausen and the UL system. We felt like it needed to
slow down a little bit. It has to an extent.”
Clausen, president of the
Louisiana System, was being
rumored as Blanco’s choice for Jenkins’ replacement, a movement which was met
with strong opposition.
Anderson served nine years on LSU's Board of Supervisors.
recently relieved of duty by Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco.
“I am, initially, concerned with
Sally Clausen replacing President Jenkins. I am not really in favor of that,”
“I think the board should do a national search (for Jenkins’ replacement). It
may turn out that she (Clausen) is the best candidate. But I think they should
go through the process and see what options they have nationally.”
In the interim period, LSU hired a
search firm to detail the qualifications for the new president before the actual
“There is a search firm that is
putting together some ideas about what the qualifications should be for the next
LSU System president,” Anderson said. “They are supposed to give a
report to the board pretty soon.”
Another major concern Anderson has surrounding
the re-structuring of the board is the future of the LSU Systems’ member
institutions. It is widely-known that Blanco, an alum of the University of
Louisiana-Lafayette, is a huge proponent of the growth of the University of Louisiana system. There has been
speculation that several member schools in the LSU System could be handed over
to the UL System.
“I do know (Commissioner of Higher
Education) Dr. (E. Joseph) Savoy with the (Louisiana) Board of Regents and the
past president of our board, Bernie Boudreaux, did visit the UNO, LSU-Alexandria
and the LSU-Eunice campuses and talked to them about moving from one system
(LSU) to another (UL),” Anderson said. “I am not in favor of that. Those schools
were developed and built by the LSU System and it is in theirs’ and the LSU
System’s best interest for them to remain a part of this system.”
Anderson says there is no need to panic right
now, but with all that has transpired, people should take notice.
“I think it is something LSU fans
and backers should watch,” Anderson said. “I think they need to be aware
of the possibilities and what could happen.”
Anderson, who serves as the
president of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Bureau of Louisiana,
said he is proud of the time he served on the board and will always remember
what the board accomplished during his terms of service. Under Anderson’s watch, the
board hired former LSU chancellor Mark Emmert and football coach Nick Saban,
which triggered the most successful period in the history of LSU
The board achieved many notable
accomplishments outside the realm of athletics over the last nine years. The
board reformed and raised admission standards, which resulted in an increase in
average GPA and graduation rates. Also, Anderson helped oversee the transition of the
charity hospital system to the LSU system, something he called “a huge project
under good conditions, much less after the hurricanes.”
“It really has been a tremendous
experience over the last nine years,” Anderson said of his term on the board. “I am
just tickled to death to have had the opportunity to serve. It was quite an
honor. I am just sorry that I am not going to be able to stay
As the clock ticks down on Blanco’s
term in office, all eyes will be affixed on every move made and how each could
affect the LSU System and its future.
Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger
Rag magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.