Odell Beckham Jr. landed himself in some trouble following his celebratory gesture toward Louisiana State University players after their 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship game earlier this year. According to Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde, the NFL star — who played three seasons at the Baton Rouge school — received a two-year ban from the school facilities. LSU reportedly issued self-imposed penalties for rules violations, with hopes that the National College Athletic Association doesn’t levy additional penalties.
The action stems from a Jan. 13 incident in which the 27 year old was seen wandering up and down the sidelines following the school’s championship victory over Clemson and appeared to be handing out $100 bills to student athletes, a violation of NCAA guidelines. It’s one rule that LeBron James and California Governor Gavin Newsom are also trying to change.
LSU officials initially told reporters that Beckham was handing out fake money but later withdrew that statement after their then quarterback Joe Burrow acknowledged in an interview that the cash was real. After investigating, LSU determined that Beckham handed out $2,000.
In an attempt to avoid more severe penalties from the NCAA, LSU proposed a reduction of eight scholarships over the next two years. Teams usually are allowed to have a maximum of 85 players on scholarship per year. LSU also planned on “reducing recruiting visits, evaluations and communication after a nearly two-year investigation uncovered booster payments to the father of a football player.”
LSU senior associate athletic director Robert Munson told SI in a statement that, “LSU has worked proactively and in cooperation with the NCAA to identify and self-report any violations that occurred within our football program.” He added, “We believe these self-imposed penalties are appropriate, and we will continue to coordinate and cooperate with the NCAA on this matter.”
According to previous communications between the school and NCAA LSU believes its violations are Level 1 in nature, which is the most serious of the NCAA’s infraction ladder. However, there are three degrees within Level 1: aggravated, standard, and mitigated. According to the NCAA’s sanction matrix, LSU’s self-imposed penalties are typical for a Level 1 mitigated, which generally does not carry a postseason ban. Aggravated and standard Level 1 violations carry, at the very least, a one-year postseason ban.
The case has been sent to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process instead of the traditional hearing panel, the Committee of Infractions, which is made up of school executives from other NCAA institutions.
This incident comes after an arrest warrant was issued for the Browns receiver after he was charged for slapping a police officer on the buttocks. The charges have since been dropped. Beckham Jr. has not addressed reports of the LSU ban as of yet.