Going up! LSU plans to raise ticket prices for the upcoming season. If approved by the university’s board of supervisors, the base price of a single ticket will jump from $36 to $40 for non-SEC games - with premier games costing $45.
LSU, which rakes in $2 million per home game, has an athletic budget of $63 million a year. The Tigers have one of the highest-paid coaching staffs in the nation, according to Mark Ewing, LSU's associate athletic director for business.
Head coach Les Miles has just inked a new contract that increases his pay from $1.65 million to $1.85 million this year.
LSU has two of the highest paid assistant coaches in the country in defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, who makes in the $450,000 range, and just-hired offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, who will get a salary package in the same $450,000 range that his predecessor Jimbo Fisher received before going to Florida State - where he took a cut in pay.
Just one week after the United Health Foundation named Louisiana the ‘least healthy’ state in the U.S., the Washington-based Council for Economic Development trashed our economy, giving us an F for economic performance ... a C for business vitality ... and another F for “the possibility of future economic growth.”
The grades were based on a 50-state comparative study. Top performers were Connecticut and Delaware, which smoked the competition with A’s in all three categories.
There are bright spots for Louisiana in the report - and the study group does say there’s a fair-to-middlin’ chance we can improve our standing based in part “on a tremendous consumer need to rebuild” after Hurricane Katrina.
Read our full report on Page 3A. Be sure to write and tell me what you think.
Speaking of business, LSU Sports Properties has launched a contest for small businesses that offers as its prize a free “corporate football sponsorship” for the 2007 season.
And that’s a BIG deal for a little guy because the winner will be paraded in front of hundreds of thousands of Tigers fans in a Madison Avenue-style promotions package that won’t cost the company a dime.
The publicity includes:
- One permanent 6' x 6' sign in the south concourse of Tiger Stadium.
- Six-months exposure on LSUsports.net, the official website of LSU Athletics.
- A half-page, four-color print ad in the LSU Game Day Fan Guide and other football publications.
Visit louisianaforward.com to enter. Simply explain how your company “is moving Louisiana forward” in 50 words or less.
Entries must be submitted by March 19, so get crackin’.
Last week in this column I asked for help in speaking and understanding Cajun - and one reader wrote: Cher - pronounced “sha” means dear. I had no idear!
Quote of the week
“It’s like getting rid of the police force and wondering why there’s an increase in crime.”
So lamented Dr. Brenda Mitchell of the United Teachers of New Orleans as she testifed about the sad state of public schooling in the City while meeting with the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Mitchell specifically addressed severe teacher shortages that are in play because, she says, pre-Hurricane Katrina teachers were fired and schools that are crying out for qualified instructors, inexplicably, won’t hire them back ...
Just when you thought the cost of a higher education was getting out of reach, our guy in Congress - U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon - has voted to make college more affordable by cutting in half the interest rate on subsidized student loans for undergraduates. The reduction would be incremental, with the full cut from 6.8% interest to 3.4% interest taking effect in 2012.
An estimated 68,000 students in Louisiana would benefit from the legislation. You’re looking at savings of $2,160 to $4,180 over the life of the loan, depending on how much schooling a student finances.
The bipartisan legislation overwhelmingly passed the House. Now it’s on to the Senate for the follow-through. Stay tuned.
Why I like Hillary Clinton for president: Well, she likes me. Back in the day, I wrote a story on Hillary’s “special friendship” with a bulb-headed space alien named P’Lod (don’t ask).
And the then-first lady showed her true colors - and fine sense of humor - by calling me and asking for an autographed copy. She even noted during a news conference that the extraterrestrial was “a wondeful companion.”
“I wish Bill was this attentive,” she joked.
I think I’ll leave it at that!