Monday-morning accountants

Kyle Riviere

Last week was a perfect illustration of the desire of people to tell others how to spend their money.

It wasn't supposed to be that way. Last Monday was supposed to be a glorious day for LSU as they announced to the world that their new state-of-the-art locker room had been completed.

It was certainly a special moment for the players as they swarmed into the facility and looked at their new palace in awe. They were simply amazed and equally grateful to have such a place to call home. 

For the most part, the energy surrounding the new Tiger football locker room was positive. In addition to current players, former players went to Twitter to laud the renovation. Recruits loved it so much that they immediately tried to schedule visits to Baton Rouge.

Many media members also looked upon the arrival of the facility in amazement. But then, there was that group of people that always finds a way to look at the glass as half-empty. They always find a way to suck the joy out of everything that is good in the world and find a flaw that no one else sees.

What was supposed to be a day of celebration turned into a day of disgust for them.

Some media members bashed the Tiger facility in order to push their own agendas. And others called the new locker room "unnecessary" and a waste of money. Some even went so far as to say it was flat-out wrong to spend so much for a sports building, when that money could have gone to repairing a crumbling school library like Middleton.

Let's put this out here right now. Was it absolutely necessary for LSU to build a new locker room at the cost of $28 million? No, it wasn't.

But here's the thing. Every penny of those $28 million came from private donors. None of that money came from tax payers. None of that money was pulled away from LSU scholarship or class-room funding.

Alums and boosters that love Tiger football and want to see the program succeed at the highest level contributed their own money to build this new locker room. Two of the people that scratched large checks were former All-American players Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.

But that didn't stop people like LSU professor Robert Mann from taking to Twitter to gripe. Mann complained that the football team has a new $28 million locker room, but he has to buy a vacuum with his own money to clean up his classroom on campus. 

The Tiger Athletic Foundation's sole purpose is to fund athletics, not fund the cleaning of classrooms. Yet, in the past decade, the TAF has donated nearly $100 million to LSU academics. They certainly didn't have to do that, but they have.

If people want Middleton Library and other aging buildings on campus to get an upgrade, look to all those academic donors out there. Look to all those wealthy alums. If they put their money where their mouths are, they can generate enough funds to make that happen.

We didn't hear these kind of complaints flowing in when LSU built the $100 million Patrick Taylor Hall (College of Engineering). We didn't hear the complaints when they spent more mounds of money to build the new state-of-the-art business college.

When donors give, things get built. And those donors are going to pay for things they're passionate about. Who are we to tell them what they should and shouldn't spend their millions on?

And let's not pretend LSU football doesn't make an enormous impact on the university.

Tiger football alone cleared a $56 million profit in 2018. That's not even taking into account the positive spotlight the football program shines on the school each year.

There are a lot of kids that come to LSU simply because they want to be in the student section of Tiger Stadium on Saturday nights, cheering on the Bayou Bengals. I know I did.

A successful football program means a successful university.

Look no further than 2004. After LSU won its first national championship in nearly 50 years, the number of applicants for the next fall semester jumped up by 930. After the 2007 national title, applicants sky-rocked to a 3,000-student increase.

And a new state-of-the-art locker room means more advantages when it comes to recruiting. Better recruiting means more victories for the football program.

More football wins, equals more money for LSU, and then everyone's happy.