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Feb 12, 2016 10:58 AM EST

LSU Football Could Be Closed Due to State's Budget Deficit, Gov. Warns

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards did not hold back when trying to emphasize the significance of the state's budget crisis, and one major victim could be LSU football.

Edwards said the state's $950 million deficit threatens the Louisiana State University school system, which thus threatens its sports programs, The New Orleans Times Picayune reported. In a televised address, Edwards proposed a significant tax increase to cover the difference.

"Without legislators approving new revenue this special session, some campuses will be forced to declare financial bankruptcy, which would include massive layoffs and the cancellation of classes," he said in his address, according to For the Win. "If you are a student attending one of these universities, it means that you will receive a grade of incomplete, many students will not be able to graduate and student athletes across the state at those schools will be ineligible to play next semester. That means you can say farewell to college football next fall."

The Times Picayune described Edwards' televised address as "rare" and the "absolute worst case scenario." A Democrat, Edwards also said he would hear out what the state's GOP leaders put forth. Also speaking on the televised event, La. Treasurer John Kennedy, a Republican, offered a rebuttal.

"Gov. Edwards is proposing to implement the largest tax increase in the history of Louisiana," he said. "It will wreck our economy, already fragile."

The GOP proposed scrutinizing the budget for extraneous or unnecessary spending while also prioritizing higher education and healthcare, The Times Picayune reported.

"Others will say we simply need to cut our way out of this mess," Edwards said. "If stabilizing the budget were as easy as cutting spending and simply reducing state contracts, that work would have been done, but it hasn't."

LSU recently came close to firing head football coach Les Miles, a move that would have been enormously costly. Miles also rewarded the football program for keeping him on by pulling in one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. Perhaps most significant was Miles' ability to secure commitments from in-state high school players.

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