Sports

Ed Orgeron’s departure is a prime example of the cultural problem with college athletics

The Ed Orgeron tenure at LSU will be officially over at the end of the 2021 season.

The charismatic football coach will be parting ways with the school just two years after bringing a national championship to the Bayou. The souring of Orgeron’s relationship with the school is emblematic of many things — the first being that many power five programs have developed expectations more unrealistic than at any point in the last 20 years.

Secondly, Orgeron’s departure proves that many people in the LSU program were suspicious about how good of a coach Orgeron actually was when he won that title in 2019. That magical season was fueled largely by Joe Burrow, Joe Brady, and a plethora of offensive playmakers on the roster. Butch Jones could have probably led that team to a title. It was one of the most talented college football squads ever assembled.

Lastly, it shows that likeability and the connection with a collegiate community don’t really mean much in 2021. Orgeron was as LSU as LSU could probably get. From his pride and passion to his famous Cajun accent that made many LSU supporters proud to call him their coach, it wasn’t enough to overcome a 9-8 record during a rebuilding situation.

Not to mention the allegations of sexual misconduct made against the program under Orgeron’s watch — compounded by reports that he made advances on the pregnant wife of a high-ranking LSU official — which should have been enough to get him fired. Needless to say, these things didn’t help his current circumstances, but it makes you question what’s really important for these institutions, which are supposed to be helping young people grow into responsible adults.

The Tigers are coming off an impressive win against a ranked Florida team, but Orgeron’s fate was already established before LSU even took the field on Saturday.

Orgeron will be fine financially as he departs from LSU. The school is expected to pay his entire $17 million tab in a buyout as it searches for a new coach.

This is just another example of how winning means everything at these schools. LSU kept Orgeron despite the mess of allegations that happened under his watch because they thought he could win. Now, they are letting him go nearly halfway through the season because they figured out he couldn’t.

At the end of the day, the records are all that matter.

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