Dear Tiger Fan,
It is truly unfortunate that, for the first time in 76 years, LSU will not play a Southeastern Conference game at night in Tiger Stadium the entire 2011 season.
Saturday Night in Tiger Stadium is a tradition for our fans, a staple in college football and one of the unique experiences in all of sports. It is the hallmark of LSU football, a brand for our athletics program. It is revered by football pundits and feared by Tiger opponents.
But with success comes a price, and in this case the price is afternoon kickoffs instead of night football. CBS will always take the game it deems to be the most interesting and that will often involve teams that are playing at the highest level. LSU is ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings at this moment and that puts Tiger Stadium in the cross-hairs of any TV network.
LSU is fortunate to be a member of the Southeastern Conference. It is the most successful and prestigious conference in America. It is the home of the last five college football national champions - and numerous national champions in other sports - so Tiger fans regularly get to witness the very best college football has to offer.
I am sure you are aware of the many recent changes in conference alignments. LSU is fortunate to be in a viable, stable and successful conference and not in the volatile situation many high profile universities find themselves in right now.
As a conference member, LSU must abide by the television contracts that have been negotiated by the SEC. The financial benefit of being a member of the SEC helps make the LSU athletics program as successful as it is while also remaining self-sufficient - using no state tax dollars and no student fees. Without the television revenue from the SEC, this would not be possible.
It is important for you to know two things:
- LSU cannot refuse to move a game. If we are requested to move a game for television, under the existing TV contracts, we must do so.
- LSU receives no additional money for playing a game in the afternoon. Whether kickoff is in the morning, afternoon or night, LSU receives the same money from the SEC.
I think I speak for everyone at LSU that we would rather play all of our games at night. But to remain a competitive program we must be a member of a conference and therefore must abide by its TV contracts. So I hope you will come to Tiger Stadium on Saturday afternoon and make it just as loud and intimidating as it would be after dark. There is no place like Tiger Stadium on Saturday night, but there is no place like Tiger Stadium on Saturday afternoon, either.
As always, we welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately we cannot answer every e-mail we receive, but please be assured they are all read.
Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics