The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The Texas-LSU air-conditioning tiff now involves HVAC investigations and spreadsheets

One has to think the temperature in Bevo's locker room was perfectly acceptable. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

There are sports scandals that play themselves out over months or even years, the news coming in slow-release drips that eventually coalesce into a full picture of whatever it is that’s being investigated.

And then there is the delightfully petty college football scandal (if it even rises to that level) borne out of Saturday’s LSU-Texas game in Austin. Dubbed “ACgate,” because of course it was, it began Monday when Tigers Coach Ed Orgeron said he had been warned by someone at Louisiana Tech that the opponents’ locker room at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium had not been air-conditioned during the Bulldogs’ game against Texas the previous Saturday. Orgeron said LSU brought “blowers” with them just in case, and they apparently were needed during a game played in near-100-degree heat.

“It wasn’t great, but it was better. At least we had air in there,” Orgeron told reporters. “[Louisiana Tech] didn’t have air."

After Texas’s honor and its HVAC system had been so besmirched, Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte was forced to respond with a statement in which he said it was “the first we’ve heard of any issues in that area” and that the school’s facilities staff “did not receive any complaints from either Louisiana Tech or LSU.”

And that seemed to be the end of this silly little contretemps, at least until Thursday, when we learned that Texas had conducted an internal investigation and found that, yes, LSU had enjoyed climate-controlled comfort in its locker room during Saturday’s game.

Texas’s investigation — based on a reading of sensors in the locker room — found that the thermostat was set to 68 degrees throughout the game, which also was more or less the locker room temperature when the Tigers arrived at the stadium. It rose only to 74.7 degrees at the end of the game as players, coaches and staff entered and exited the space.

Texas spokesman John Bianco gave The Post a copy of the spreadsheet, an image from which is presented here:

On Wednesday, Orgeron amended his assertion that someone from Louisiana Tech had warned him about the lack of air conditioning in the locker room, saying he was told the Bulldogs felt it was merely quite warm.

“I did talk to somebody on Louisiana’s Tech staff, and they felt it was very hot,” he said. “All I did was make sure we had air conditioners and blowers. We put air conditioners and blowers, I don’t know about air conditioners but put blowers on the floor [of the locker room]. Saturday, it was fine, it was a little stuffy in there. Whether the air conditioner was on or not, I’m not sure.”

Texas and LSU will meet again on Sept. 12, 2020, in Baton Rouge, where kickoff temperatures are likely to again be hot. As for the welcome mat the Tigers will lay out?

“I’m sure we have a plan or two to make them as comfortable as they can possibly be,” Orgeron said with a laugh.

Read more:

Alabama is penalizing students for leaving football games early. Is that normal?

Georgia fans organize last-minute ‘pink-out’ to honor Arkansas State coach’s late wife

Virginia football is surging, FSU is reeling entering ACC matchup turned upside-down

California lawmakers voted to let NCAA athletes get paid. It’s unclear what’s next.