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University of Louisiana football coach asks ‘student athletes’ to pay for membership into school athletic fund ... no, seriously


The NCAA is a big, fat mess and the University of Louisiana's Billy Napier is determined to be a part of the problem.

The second-year football coach backtracked Friday after initially demanding his scholarship athletes donate a minimum of $50 to join the school’s athletic fund.

After a firestorm of criticism over his tone-deaf plot, Napier and the University said membership to the school’s Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation was just strongly encouraged to help his players "understand the benefits that come with being a student-athlete.”

Playing for the school is “not something that should be taken lightly — the effort and time and investment that the people that support athletes at UL have put in into this program," Napier said, which is again ironic, because none of the effort, time or investment put in by his players translates to actual income.

Napier’s current coaching contract, which began in 2018, was valued at $756,960 guaranteed for the first year and included a $500,000 contingent premium benefit funded by the booster club. He is currently in talks with the school for a contract extension.

Billy Napier makes national headlines this week for his boneheaded plan.
Billy Napier makes national headlines this week for his boneheaded plan. (Butch Dill/AP)

In a show of philanthropy to UL’s walk-ons (read: players joining the team without a scholarship) paid membership with the same foundation helping pay Napier’s salary is optional.

Like all NCAA athletes, University of Louisiana students are strictly prohibited from pursuing compensation deemed related to their athletic endeavors. The NCAA rule is applied as broadly as required, such as when University of Central Florida Donald De La Haye’s lost his scholarship over revenue generated from the backup kicker’s YouTube revenue.

Napier said the guideline is “about gratitude,” which his players learned is a one-way street.