The most recent edition of the Sports Illustrated cover story, which is available now for $5.99, features a shot of Louisiana State University’s mascot, the Lousianas, in the background.
The article, which features a photo of the mascot in a classroom with his feet dangling over a bench, is based on a photo from ESPN’s live coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which was posted online on Tuesday.
“There’s a lot of excitement around the game,” Lousia State University athletics director Tim Gorman said in the story.
“We are very excited about it, and it’s a huge win for the university.”
Gorman, whose school will play its first ever NCAA tournament game in a week’s time, has long been one of the more controversial coaches in college basketball, even as he was also one of Louisiana’s most prominent boosters.
In addition to his role as the man who signed the school’s $2 million TV contract with ESPN, he also was a major benefactor of the university.
The school has a large African American student body and, as ESPN notes, “a rich African-American tradition.”
But in a world where many coaches are making millions of dollars a year in the NBA, Gorman has also been criticized for his role in recruiting African American players for Louisiana State.
“If you’re going to pay $1 million for a basketball player, that’s $1,000 per player,” Gorman told ESPN in 2013.
“That’s a big, big deal.
And I’m not saying that they should be getting paid more than the rest of the kids who play here.”
Lousians have long held a strong sense of pride for the school.
When the university opened in 1961, it was named after former football coach Louis Stokes, who coached the program for 42 years.
The mascot is named after Stokes’ father, who is the president of the school and a longtime Louisiana State fan.
“The LousIANAS are proud of their heritage,” Gommers mother, Patricia Gorman-Lopez, told the Baton Rouge Advocate in 2016.
“They don’t have the best name in the world, but they do have the LOUSIANAS.
I don’t want to live in a country that’s known for hating their heritage, or that they’re not proud of what they have, and I just want to be able to enjoy it, so I’m just proud of our mascot.”
After being suspended for two years, Gommer left LSU in 2017 and has since gone on to coach at Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Texas and Oklahoma State.
He is now a consultant for NBA teams.
Louisiana State is not the only school that has been embroiled in controversy.
In 2017, the NCAA fined Lousias athletic department nearly $2.8 million, including $400,000 for not complying with a rule that required teams to pay for mascot training, a decision that led to an NCAA investigation and a subsequent suspension.
That investigation was subsequently closed, but the school still faced financial penalties, according to ESPN.
Lousians first basketball team, the Louisiana Tigers, was created in 1885, and its first game was played in 1896.
Louisiana has hosted the NCAA Tournament every year since then, including last year’s tournament.