NCAA president Mark Emmert‘s proposal to increase grants to student-athletes by $2,000 has been approved in order to cover the full cost of attending college.
LSU chancellor Michael Martin disagrees with the proposal | Photo by Troy Gaulden
According to Louisiana State University chancellor Michael Martin, each conference will now vote on the matter, and it is expected that most will accept the proposal.
But Martin, a former chancellor at New Mexico State, disagrees with increasing student-athlete grants, because not all schools can afford to do so. Martin says this will widen the gap between the haves and have-nots.
“I’m not sure that the $2,000 serves a particularly good purpose for those of us who can afford it, and it most certainly will have a negative impact on those who can’t,” said Martin.
Also, with conference realignment and television network deals, the landscape of college athletics is shifting. The Southeastern Conference added Texas A&M and the University of Missouri, a move that Martin backs.
“Both Texas A&M and Missouri are AAU universities, which means that they are academically very highly regarded. They both have strong traditions in the sports we play. They are within reach of our smaller teams being able to travel successfully there.”
Although the tennis courts in “Dub” Robinson Stadium were recently resurfaced, the LSU tennis program still sits behind the curve being the only Southeastern Conference school without indoor tennis courts.
LSU rendering of the future tennis facility | Photo by Troy Gaulden
“We’re constantly recruiting, but so is everyone else. There’s more and more schools that are competitive that are getting in on the same recruits, and you’re going to have to have something at least equal to what your competition has,” says LSU Men’s Tennis coach Jeff Brown.
“I watch the weather channel more than you would believe during the season. When we have bad weather we don’t have a place to practice, and it makes it awfully tough to gain cohesiveness and consistency with your practices,” says LSU Women’s Tennis coach Tony Minnis.
Things are about to change for LSU tennis in the next two years. The coaches will finally get their “umbrella” with fundraising underway for a state-of-the-art tennis facility.
“It’s going to be very beneficial. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re really excited about what’s happening coming up soon,” says Minnis.
According to LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, the future tennis facility will cost around $10 million and will be on LSU’s south campus. The facility will feature six indoor courts and 20-30 outdoor courts.
The Shaq statue sits in front of the basketball practice facility | Photo by Troy Gaulden
After finishing at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference for the past two seasons, the program is looking to turn things around. It all starts with recruiting. A statue of arguably the most well-known athlete to ever sport purple and gold is a great start. This is more than just a statue to LSU.
Along with the statue of Shaq, the LSU basketball practice facility keeps LSU in the running for recruits. Shaq even took note of the LSU basketball program’s overall improvements over the years.
“I spoke to the team last year, and I was like, listen, you guys got everything you want here. You may think you have everything, but I didn’t have any of this, and I made it. You know you guys have computers and internet, practice facilities and study halls and stuff like that. My message to them was to take advantage,” says Shaq.
The 900-pound bronze statue was sculpted by Hanlon Sculpture Studio and sits in front of the basketball practice facility. Alleva says visiting recruits will definitely be impressed by the statue.