College Basketball

Gov. Jeff Landry wants athletes to lose scholarships for avoiding national anthem after LSU controversy

Louisiana’s top executive joined the conversation on LSU’s national anthem controversy — and he has an idea that could potentially punish players if something similar happens again.

After coach Kim Mulkey’s team was noticeably absent from the playing of the national anthem before the Tigers’ Elite Eight loss to Caitlin Clark and Iowa in Albany on Monday night, Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry pushed for a move that would punish student-athletes for missing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Iowa, however, was on the court, holding hands as the anthem was performed at MVP Arena.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry called for punishing players who miss the national anthem. AP

“My mother coached women’s high school basketball during the height of desegregation, no one has a greater respect for the sport and for Coach Mulkey. However, above respect for that game is a deeper respect for those that serve to protect us and unite us under one flag!” Landry wrote in a post on X on Tuesday morning.

“It is time that all college boards, including Regent, put a policy in place that student athletes be present for the national anthem or risk their athletic scholarship! This is a matter of respect that all collegiate coaches should instill.”

Mulkey, for her part, said after the game — one that set a women’s NCAA ratings record — that the team did not miss the anthem intentionally or for any statement, saying the team has a routine before every game and that it just wasn’t back on the court in time.

Baton Rogue Proud news reported Monday that LSU’s women’s basketball team is “never” on the court for the playing of the anthem.

Kim Mulkey explained after the game why LSU missed the national anthem. Getty Images
Louisiana Gov Jeff Landry and Mrs Landry congratulate Tigers Head Coach Kim Mulkey The LSU Tigers take down the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament in Baton Rouge, LA at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

“Honestly, I don’t even know when the anthem was played,” Mulkey told reporters after the loss to Iowa. “We kind of have a routine when they’re on the floor and 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.”

With the loss, the Tigers finish their 2023-24 season with a record of 31-6, falling short of a second straight national title.

Angel Reese (10) hugs Flau’jae Johnson (4) of the LSU Tigers during the second half of their Elite Eight loss to Iowa. Getty Images

Angel Reese finished with 17 points and 20 rebounds, but Clark stole the show, scoring 41 points with 12 assists and seven rebounds.