Former LSU football Coach Gerry DiNardo disputes claim the program had poor graduation rates
Grab the original.Former LSU Coach Gerry DiNardo disputed via Twitter a statement by NCAA President Mark Emmert Tuesday that LSU had poor graduation rates when Nick Saban took over as coach in 2000.
DiNardo, who coached at LSU from 1995-99 before being fired when Emmert was Chancellor at the school, admitted the program had problems but said in a tweet late Tuesday, "what he (Emmert) said about academics was flat-out inaccurate."
"As a result of my time at LSU, football was recognized for a 70 percent graduation rate by the College Football Association for the first time in school history, contrary to what Mark Emmert said," DiNardo wrote in another tweet. In subsequent tweets he said LSU received the award in 2001, which reflected the success oif his first recruiting class and that LSU did not earn that award again until 2010.
"What I'm saying is that I raised the football graduation at LSU to the highest in their history at that point," DiNardo tweeted "and I'm proud of it."
At issue are statements Emmert made to Bob Ley on ESPN's Outside the Lines. When asked how he defined academic success, academic success Emmert said: "At the time Nick Saban came in, we had the lowest graduation rate in the SEC. By the time he left, it was one of the highest graduation rates in the SEC. We had young men getting in all kinds of off-the-field problems before he showed up. By the time he left, we had virtually none of those."
There's some mud in the water, here. While it's true that LSU won the award DiNardo mentions, it's also true that the NCAA hadn't initiated the Academic Progress Rate (APR) system to measure academic performance on a consistent basis across NCAA member schools. Each school essentially defined its graduation rate and measures of academic success.
It's also true that during DiNardo's tenure at LSU, the football program was hot mess of slack discipline and poor on-the-field performance. The state of Louisiana--a fertile recruiting territory if there ever was one--was routinely being raided by other programs, with top talent leaving the state to play for competitors.
It was clear that DiNardo had completely lost control of the program and needed to go.