Skip to main content

Study: LSU alumni judges give tougher sentences after football team loses

There was also a racial disparity, with black juveniles receiving harsher sentences compared to white juveniles. 
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

A new study has linked LSU football losses with harsher sentences from Louisiana judges who attended the school.

LSU economists Ozkan Eren and Naci Mocan detailed the correlation in a draft of their paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research. Black defendants in particular appear to suffer when LSU loses, especially after an upset loss. 

In cases observed for Louisiana, juvenile court judges have issued harsher punishments and longer sentences to juveniles after a loss by LSU. At times, when LSU was favored and upset by another team, judges were even more severe and handed down sentences that were a month longer than usual, with black defendants hit particularly hard.   

The correlation only applied to judges who received their bachelor's degree at LSU, according to the study. 

Sentences for juveniles after Tigers losses could sometimes be 74 days longer. There was a racial disparity in the severity of punishment after an unexpected loss as well: Black juveniles averaged an extra 46 days of sentencing following a loss, while white juveniles averaged eight more days in their sentencing. 

Odds: After routing Hawaii, No. 5 Michigan a heavy favorite vs. UCF

“Although harsher punishment handed down by judges is not deliberate (because it is triggered by an emotional shock), we find some evidence that black defendants bear much of the burden of judges’ wrath due to this emotional shock, which hints at a negative predisposition towards black defendants,” the report stated.

It is unclear whether the same findings would hold for other judges around the country.