LSU Athletics spent $128,000 on misconduct prevention during time of allegations

LSU Athletics—using money provided by the nonprofit Tiger Athletics Foundation—spent at least $128,513 on training to prevent sexual misconduct, bullying, discrimination and other bad behavior within its department from 2016 to 2020, the same years at least nine members of the football team were reported to police for sexual misconduct and violence against women. 

As Louisiana Illuminator reports, since 2017, the NCAA has required all college athletics departments to go through sexual violence prevention training annually. It recommends four educational programs in the NCAA’s sexual violence prevention tool kit, but it doesn’t require any specific training, and LSU offiicials have not chosen to spend money on any of those four. 

The university hired a private firm owned by former Big 12 Conference commissioner Dan Beebe to provide “human relations risk management,” which includes sexual misconduct prevention. The university also gave athletes access to Game Plan, an online educational platform that provides programming that discusses stalking, sexual consent, sexual violence and healthy relationships. 

The football team also gets some additional programming. LSU has brought in at least four speakers who specialize in talking about sexual misconduct and violence against women to address the team, according to information provided Saturday by the athletic department. 

In November, the Louisiana Illuminator requested records about outside groups hired to conduct sexual violence prevention training with the LSU athletic department between 2016 to 2020. In response to that request, the university provided the contracts with Beebe’s organization, now called PFA Consulting, totaling $128,513. 

Officials have not said how much additional money is being spent on Game Plan, the online educational platform, or the speakers hired to talk to the football team. LSU only mentioned the existence of those efforts Saturday, weeks after the public records request for relevant contracts was made. Saturday’s acknowledgment of Game Plan and the guest speakers didn’t include copies of any contracts or details about cost. 

The Tiger Athletic Foundation pays for Beebe’s firm’s services, even though the LSU Board of Supervisors signs off on the work. The foundation raises millions of dollars to construct athletic facilities, pay for personnel, fund sports scholarships and finance player recruitment. 

PFA Consulting provides the bulk of LSU Athletics training on sexual misconduct, even though athletes and athletic staff still have to go through wider campus training as well. Employees of the athletic department take the same online sexual harassment prevention class required of every university employee. Athletes also go through the MyStudyBody health and wellness course required of all LSU students. 

LSU Athletics’ current approach to sexual violence prevention and human relations risk management has been under scrutiny since last fall following a well-publicized USA Today investigation. There are LSU football players who not only were accused of sexual misconduct and violence over the last four years, but they were also accused of victimizing women associated with the athletic department. In at least five instances, the woman accusing a football player of wrongdoing was an employee of the athletics department or an athlete herself. Read the full story.