The most egregious violation involves not Beckham but an LSU booster named John Paul Funes, whom the school has determined paid the father of former offensive lineman Vadal Alexander $180,000 in money Funes embezzled from Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. The payments took place from 2012 to 2017 and involved a “no-show” job taken by Alexander’s father.
LSU is eliminating eight football scholarships over a two-year period and reducing recruiting visits, evaluations and communication after investigating the payments made by the booster for more than two years. According to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde, who broke the story Wednesday afternoon, LSU has informed the NCAA about its self-imposed sanctions in hopes that the organization does not punish the program further.
The Sports Illustrated writers report that LSU and the NCAA have discussed the penalties already and that a postseason ban was considered but ultimately not imposed by the school. The NCAA already is investigating alleged violations by the LSU men’s basketball program and has added the football team’s violations to that probe, a move with which LSU disagrees, according to Dellenger and Forde, who report that the school thinks the two investigations should remain separate.
The school also imposed recruiting restrictions on LSU Coach Ed Orgeron over an impermissible recruiting contact made in January 2019.
“LSU has worked proactively and in cooperation with the NCAA to identify and self-report any violations that occurred within our football program,” Robert Munson, LSU’s senior associate athletic director, said in a statement provided to The Post. “We believe these self-imposed penalties are appropriate and we will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the NCAA on this matter.”
After video surfaced of Beckham’s cash handouts, LSU initially said he was handing out fake money. But the school later admitted that Beckham was handing out real money — quarterback Joe Burrow, who would become the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL draft, told a podcast it was legal tender — and that it had been in contact with the NCAA about the potential violation of rules prohibiting impermissible benefits.
In October 2019, Funes apologized for his “awful and senseless” crimes and “extremely poor judgment” before a federal judge sentenced him to 33 months in prison for embezzling nearly $800,000 from the nonprofit fundraising arm for Our Lake of the Lake Regional Medical Center and its affiliated hospitals. That June, Funes pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering, with the judge noting at his sentencing that he had paid back more than $796,000 in restitution.
According to the Advocate, Funes admitted to stealing gift cards meant for cancer patients, flying family and friends to LSU and New Orleans Saints football games on charter flights labeled as “outbound patient transports,” and sent money to people who did little to no work for the Our Lady of the Lake Foundation over a seven-year period, beginning in 2012.
Vadal Alexander was a four-year starter for the Tigers from 2012 to 2016. Court documents obtained by the Advocate say Funes paid Alexander’s father $180,000 even though he “did little to no work for the Foundation."