“A slap in the face to our university and to Louisiana taxpayers.” That’s what state Sen. Mike Michot called the Independence Bowl’s recent decision to pass on UL and instead invite the Northern Illinois Huskies to play in its Dec. 28 post-season matchup against La. Tech. Many Ragin’ Cajuns fans have questioned why the Shreveport bowl, which received a $359,160 state subsidy last year, would give preference to an out-of-state school. The Cajuns and the Northern Illinois Huskies both finished the season 6-6, but UL finished higher in its conference standings and is a relatively short drive away from Shreveport.
Yesterday, Michot and two other Lafayette lawmakers and UL alum - Reps. Joel Robideaux and Page Cortez - told Louisiana Gannett News that the bowl’s officials will have some explaining to do when they show up before the legislature next year, hat in hand. “It’s very frustrating,” says Cortez. “There’s no chance that Northern Illinois will bring the fan base to spend money in the hotels and restaurants that the Acadiana community would. Forget the money that would have gone to UL-Lafayette. It’s ridiculous how much better Louisiana schools were passed over. They get state funding, so they should keep the dollars at home.” Adds Robideaux, “They’re going to have to answer for it, that’s for sure.”
There’s been no shortage of blame to go around for UL’s bowl snub. Read The Independent Weekly’s list of Top 10 culprits in this week’s issue.