NBC News - Louisiana State University proposed penalties against its own football program after one of the school's most prominent alums — who now faces a ban from the team's facilities — was filmed handing out money to players, officials said Wednesday.
The action stems from a Jan. 13 incident when Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. roamed the sidelines of LSU's 42-35 national championship victory over Clemson and appeared to be handing out $100 bills to student-athletes, which would violate NCAA guidelines.
In hopes of avoiding more serious penalties from the NCAA, LSU is proposing scholarship cutbacks and a reduction in formal contacts with prospective student-athletes during recruiting season.
The college sport's top flight, the Football Bowl Subdivision, allows teams to carry 85 scholarship players each season. Under LSU's proposal, the Tigers would be limited to 81 spots for two consecutive falls.
Beckham, who played three seasons at the Baton Rouge school, would also be banned from all LSU athletic facilities for two years, under the university's proposal.
“LSU has worked proactively and in cooperation with the NCAA to identify and self-report any violations that occurred within our football program," LSU Senior Associate Athletic Director Robert Munson said in a statement.
"We believe these self-imposed penalties are appropriate and we will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the NCAA on this matter."
A representative for the NCAA could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.
Beckham met with reporters in a Zoom chat on Wednesday, but that was before word of the proposed LSU penalties had spread, so he wasn't asked about it. In his meeting with reporters, the three-time Pro Bowl selection said he believed Covid-19 will never catch up with him.
"Not in an arrogant way, I just don't think Covid can get to me," said Beckham. "I don't think it's going to get into this body. I don't want (any) part of it, it (doesn't) want (any) parts of me. I think it's a mutual respect."