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Landry extends call to punish anthem-skipping athletes to all Louisiana public colleges

3 months 2 weeks 5 days ago Thursday, April 04 2024 Apr 4, 2024 April 04, 2024 1:23 PM April 04, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ
The Golden Band from Tigerland plays prior to the LSU-Alabama game on Nov. 3, 2018. Neither team was present for the national anthem.

BATON ROUGE — Gov. Jeff Landry wants athletes from state-run colleges and universities to be present for the national anthem before their contests, even though many of their teams have traditionally been in their locker rooms before the games for last-minute instructions.

The governor on Tuesday sent a letter to the LSU Board of Supervisors and the state Board of Regents urging them to adopt rules mandating that the athletes be present for the Star Spangled Banner or risk losing their scholarships.

"A policy like this would ensure that our student athletes and their coaches understand the significance of our anthem and our flag, and work to instill the respect for it within their teams," Landry wrote.

In a post Friday on X (formerly known as Twitter), LSU Director of Athletics Scott Woodward acknowledged Landry's letter.

"As Louisiana's flagship university, LSU always strives to represent the higher ideals and values of our students, our state and our country," Woodward's statement read.

Before writing the letter, Landry had criticized the LSU women's basketball team for failing to be present for the national anthem ahead of Monday night's Elite Eight NCAA tournament game against Iowa. Iowa was present. In that night's other regional final, neither Southern California nor UConn were present for the national anthem.

Even at Louisiana's biggest annual college athletic contests — LSU home football games — teams aren't present for the pre-game anthem. At last season's game with Army, even the Golden Knights, representing the U.S. Military Academy, were not on the field while the LSU marching band played the national anthem. 

Under a schedule that has varied little over the decades, teams warm up on the Tiger Stadium turf and then retire to their locker rooms about 20 minutes before the game. The LSU band typically takes the field about 16 minutes before the game and plays the national anthem and alma mater. 

Ahead of the LSU-Iowa women's basketball game, the Tigers retired to their locker room with 12 minutes left before the game and emerged for the player introductions and tip-off.

"Honestly, I don't even know when the anthem was played," LSU coach Kim Mulkey said. "We kind of (have) a routine where we're on the floor and then they come off at the 12-minute mark. I don't know... we come in and we do our pregame stuff. I'm sorry... Listen, that's nothing intentionally done."

In addition to the letter sent to LSU's board, similar letters were also sent to the University of Louisiana, Southern University and Louisiana Community and Technical College systems.

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