Updated: Mar 8, 2021
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
I understand the present climate...
LSU's football program has a ton of momentum heading into a 2021 rebound season...I heavily cover every aspect of the football team...
I fully grasp the fact that many don't want to hear about the negative side to life...neither do I, but this isn't about spreading negativity or depression amongst the LSU fanbase:
I'm talking about this story to galvanize Tigers fans into seeking out the truth surrounding their athletic department's failings so LSU can be a safer place...
I'm writing and speaking out because I love LSU...because I believe in LSU's ability to change...I believe Coach Ed Orgeron and A.D Scott Woodward are the two people who can provide that change, already battling the Miles-era toxicity upon arrival and improving the program's response...but it hasn't been good enough:
What we witnessed on Friday morning from President Tom Galligan had to disturb any Tigers fan hoping for progress.
What happened on Friday was one more time for Galligan to dismiss the alleged female victims of LSU's 10 Title IX violators...aka alleged rapists, bullies or creeps who allegedly beat their girlfriends, violently groped their fellow female students on bus trips, who allegedly drugged and raped women after drinks at bars, allegedly raped women while on the phone with their friends, allegedly punched their girlfriends in the face and stomach... even the consensual sex crossed the line, where another player allegedly just had to share photos of a sex tape between himself and another woman who, of course, did not consent to the sharing...then, there's more:
Derrius Guice...his worsening known crimes now disgustingly intertwined with his former head coach's emphatic creepiness...still, unless we find a mountain of evidence supporting even more horrific claims against Les Miles, Guice's crimes must take the cake as the true face behind the veil of LSU's Miles-era dysfunction.
However, what we learned from Husch-Blackwell shouldn't be solely about Les Miles or Derrius Guice...the focus must be on the University employing two different presidents who believe in covering for those who betray the University itself.
We have a 2013 email memo from then Athletic Director Joe Alleva to President F. King Alexander lobbying for Les Miles' ouster in light of the allegations against him from both LSU and Oklahoma State.
Worried about a large payout or a possible lawsuit from Miles, former President F. King Alexander refused to fire or even discipline Les.
Now, in the last few years up til Friday, a sort of half denial / half allowance mentality is rotting the top brass within LSU's athletic department....
Exhibit A: Their indifferent response for the past 10 years, headlined in the last few years by Drake Davis & the obvious mishandling / negligence / cover-up by Executive Assistant Deputy Athletic Director Verge Ausberrry;
Exhibit B: The fact their incompetence has brought public shame & a federal investigation to LSU's doorstep;
Exhibit C: Friday's debacle of a board meeting in which they refused to give Sr. Woman Miriam Segar or Verge Ausberry more than a few weeks vacation for their crimes.
President Tom Galligan spoke more about the rights of the accused and not firing people than what the actual victims had to say or his investigation into their reports to corroborate their experiences. From the beginning of Husch-Blackwell attorney Scott Schneider's opening statements (including the fact that his daughter "goes to LSU") continued to harp against the idea of recommending punishments or firings and even seemed to scoff at the very insinuation of that outcome.
In fact, what we saw in the lead-up to Friday was an extremely calculated week, beginning with the leaking of the Les Miles sections from the Taylor-Porter report and ending in the Friday meeting. This became a farce where almost every word was pre-planned and drawn out...the board of directors showing more drive and effort in their optics cover-up than their ability to investigate sexual assaults...
Make no mistake, President Galligan opens his big statement by even referencing how most of the blame must go to "people who aren't there", continuing to highlight the big story which had been leaked only days prior, marinating within the public consciousness....they even had me for a second.
But for those who were willing to actually read the 263 page report by Husch-Blackwell, a bigger picture is painted of where LSU has been since Miles was booted out of the Boot:
Sure, the program hasn't had a violator since last August when TE/DE Ray Parker was arrested & dismissed from the team after beating his girlfriend...yes, Coach Ed Orgeron has cleaned up the program when looking at his own individual response to allegations / legal proceedings against Ed Ingram (officially cleared of all charges), Tae Provens, Grant Delpit (suspended for the Texas State game after sharing the photos of a consensual sexual encounter).
To blame every action by every player on a coach is irresponsible craziness...yet, you must hold LSU to a standard...so the question that must be asked: What these athletic department staffers or coaches do after they know and when were they aware?
Outlined in the Husch-Blackwell report as Respondent D, there was a rape allegation against linebacker Jacob Phillips which the Baton Rouge Police Department refused to investigate (citing the witness's "credibility").
Countering this position, the Husch-Blackwell report makes it clear LSU never documented key evidence such as texts or other communication, failed to instigate or document meetings and also made no effort to obtain a rape kit. There was also a worrying lack of documentation concerning whether the campus' Title IX department or LSU's athletic department even attempted to contact the alleged victim.
LSU exonerated Phillips after he maintained his innocence and that the sex was consensual. “No explanation is provided for how the investigators assessed the relative credibility of the parties,” Husch Blackwell found.
That's a problem in and of itself...whether the allegations are credible or not, it becomes tougher to make a determination due to the designed disorganization from LSU...which is where the biggest issue lies.
Does the community care about this issue?
Maybe the athletic department heads like Galligan, Ausberry and Segar don't, but I feel the Baton Rouge community do, although the simple intensity, triggering power and widespread fear attached to dating / sexual violence forces many to duck and hide away...namely those with full knowledge of crimes;
I expect silence from cowards...
I didn't expect cowardice to emanate from LSU's President and athletic department.
That's what we received on Friday...the Board of Directors had a chance to be viewed as heroes, agents of positive change...instead, they chose not to rock the boat and they went with the most pathetic set of punishments possible for Ausberry and Segar.
This situation is far from finished...and while LSU Odyssey will never stop covering every fiber of LSU football, we will continue to follow this story. As draining as it has become on the fanbase (myself included), just think about how bad this process must feel for the victims...
In the end, trying to banish this growing scandal for the sake of football will actually hurt our university, its football program and the reputations of all involved...many of whom aren't connected to the cover-ups.
We cannot see that happen, so...LSU must act now....be an example for positive change because let's be honest here...this isn't just an LSU problem...sexual assault is a college campus problem across America.
Now is the time LSU tackles sexual assault.
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
SHOUTOUTS: Moscana for telling it like it is the other day.
Also, Thee Jeff Martin, what an amazing man! Going to be a great Coach very soon!