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Friday, June 5, 2020

KU reaches $2.55 million settlement with former football coach David Beaty

Kansas head coach David Beaty watches the action during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas head coach David Beaty watches the action during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

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After a 15-month legal battle, the University of Kansas and former football coach David Beaty have reached a $2.55 million settlement in Beaty's lawsuit over his disputed firing.

Beaty was fired in November 2018, and he sued the university in March 2019, accusing KU of improperly firing him for cause and “concocting” alleged NCAA violations in order to withhold a $3 million buyout included in his contract. The settlement, which KU announced late Friday, is about half a million dollars less than the original buyout that Beaty was seeking.

In a statement to the Journal-World, Beaty's lead attorney, Michael Lyons, said Beaty and his family were happy to have the ordeal behind them.

"I believe the settlement speaks for itself. Kansas ultimately spent more money on this misadventure than they would have spent had they simply honored their commitment to Coach Beaty and his family," Lyons said. "In the process, Kansas’ leadership has subjected the athletics department to unnecessary additional scrutiny from the NCAA and a loss of credibility in the court of public opinion.

"Today is a victory for not only Coach Beaty but coaches everywhere," he added. "Let this be a lesson to every institution watching. If you want to backtrack and dishonor your commitments, do so at your peril."

In a statement, the university said that despite the settlement, it maintains that the facts and principles behind its decision to fire Beaty for cause remain intact.

“For the betterment of KU, and driven by a willingness to move forward during a time of uncertainty in college athletics, the University has now put this matter behind us,” the statement said.

The $2.55 million settlement, KU said, will be paid through the original amount placed in escrow during the 2018-2019 fiscal year following Beaty’s separation from KU.

During the course of reporting on the litigation, the Journal-World filed requests with KU under the Kansas Open Records Act for any agreements to put Beaty’s contract buyout in escrow. It was told such records didn’t exist.

Though the settlement is less than Beaty’s buyout in his contract, KU in all likelihood will lose money in the costs it incurred throughout the extended legal battle.

In April, the Journal-World reported that outside legal bills to fight the case had already cost KU over $350,000 — and the invoices the newspaper received dated only through March. Many time-consuming legal filings took place in the months following, and the Journal-World will request any final legal invoices in the coming days.

Though the case is settled, the low-level NCAA violations that Beaty is accused of — using more coaches than permitted under NCAA rules — remain as part of the university’s larger infractions case, which also includes much more serious allegations against its men’s basketball program.

Settling the case with Beaty will likely keep some unsavory information from seeing the light of day in a public court battle. For starters, a judge in the case ruled in April that raw footage from “Miles to Go,” an ESPN documentary series following the first season of current KU football coach Les Miles, could be used as evidence in the case. Beaty’s team had argued it would show Athletic Director Jeff Long planning Beaty's ouster prior to the start of the 2018 season.

T.J. Gassnola, the central figure in the Adidas pay-for-play scandal that rocked college basketball in 2017, was also scheduled to be deposed as part of Beaty’s lawsuit, and had been served with a subpoena. That information could have posed trouble for the men’s basketball program if Gassnola had provided new information about goings-on in the KU athletic department that hadn’t been previously disclosed.

In late May, the NCAA Committee on Infractions ruled that depositions from Beaty’s trial — from Long and two former assistant coaches — could be used in determining KU’s infractions case, the Journal-World previously reported. If Gassnola had been deposed, one of the parties could have petitioned the committee to include Gassnola’s deposition in the NCAA case, as well.

Beaty has been mostly out of work in the football world since his termination at Kansas. He served briefly as an offensive analyst at Texas for coach Tom Herman, but had been unable to secure a position elsewhere because of the litigation with KU, he argued during the case.

Comments

Craig Jackson 4 months, 3 weeks ago

HCBS must be gripping a bit as KU settling with Beaty may not be in his best interest. Here's hoping the release signed by Beaty is ironclad!

Dane Pratt 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Whatever we paid in legal fees plus the damage to our reputation was not worth $450k.

Spencer Goff 4 months, 3 weeks ago

1) It would have looked a lot less guilty to just have paid him the full buyout when he was let go. Plus it would have looked a lot more loyal. This turned into a $hit $how.

2) The timing of all this only makes us seem the more guilty in the court of public appeals, as we only settled after a court ruled our dirty laundry was fair game. Even diehard Jayhawk faithful can see how that looks pretty poor.

3) I would like to think our legal counsel sealed this thing air tight so that it ends here and no information is discussed with outside parties like Mark Emmert, who will be standing in Beaty's driveway wanting to "talk."

This could have been handled so much better. Hopefully we learn and recover.

Dane Pratt 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Got to think part of the settlement included a non-disclosure agreement.

Jonathan Allison 4 months, 3 weeks ago

The $2.55MM settlement looks like an obvious L for KU. One would have to think that this university is not so inept that it didn't get at least something out of this negotiation.

It does look like KU did enough math to determine that they were at a break even point and they weren't willing to take the risk of continuing the legal battle with Mr. Beatty.

Just more evidence that college athletics is an ugly business.

Doug Roberts 4 months, 3 weeks ago

So glad we can finally put this behind us. Beaty can retire, and now maybe we can get to what's really important - a starting quarterback. I dream, DREAM of a day when there is no doubt who the starting quarterback is heading into the season. Is that really a thing?

David Kelley-Wood 4 months, 3 weeks ago

KU's alternative statement might just as well have been this: "We tried to screw Coach Beaty out of his $3 million, but oddly enough, he didn't take it lying down. We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole there, didn't we? So, because we could, we had to screw him out of something just to try to save some face. Wish it could have been more, but hey, what are you going to do?" Disgraceful.

Armen Kurdian 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, actually, his lawyers are probably going to get a big cut, so Coach Beatty is still coming out with, I don't know, maybe half of what he should have gotten.

Every organization at some point has a misstep, it seems to be nearly universal from us fans in terms of agreeing, and from a fan base that was sick and tired of losing, that's saying a lot.

Brett McCabe 4 months, 3 weeks ago

So, Jeff Long is an idiot. And the dirty b-ball program is protected at all costs.

I trusted Long. Obviously a mistake.

Time for a new Chancellor and new AD. The embarrassment continues.

Jerry Walker 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Does anyone know how the settlement effects Beaty's legal expenses?

Brad Avery 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Whoever was responsible (Jeff Long) for contesting payment of the remainder of Beaty's salary after the coach was fired should resign. It was an irresponsible, stupid decision that reflected poorly on K.U. Maybe if Long goes, so also will the resumption of the "Border War," a second bad decision.

Jeff Foster 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Jeff Long is a self-serving tool that's made KU Athletics worse since his hiring.

Bee Bee 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Is Beaty paying K U considering he was a joke and his program was a cluster?

Son Mac 4 months, 3 weeks ago

It's Zenger's fault Beaty was given an extension. Why embarrass the school and the football program to end up paying more than the original agreement after legal cost? And for no legitimate reason except to hose Beaty from getting a job and moving on. This basketball issue is going to be a nightmare. Besides massive legal fees, it's going to leave a bad mark on the KU program.

Bryce Landon 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Wow, nothing like getting paid a couple million dollars even though he sucked so bad at his job! At least Kirk Ferentz actually earns the money he's making as the Head Hawkeye!

ON IOWA!!!

Blake Brown 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Bad AD. Bad contractual management on KU`s part. Bad karma. Bad legal advice and representation. Bad outcome for the bigger issue, KU b-ball/ Coach Self especially considering what OSU got from "lesser" infractions.

Stephen Johnson 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Keep your word. That's all KU had to do. Let's home think, how great was Miles first year. If we give Miles 6 years we have a chance to see improvement. Beatty brought us the best running back in the B12 and no scandal in his time here. This case has been a total embarrassment to KU.

Bret Eckert 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe Brett M. should be AD/Chancellor. The dual position would save the University some money. He seems to have all of the answers.

Armen Kurdian 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I can't seem to find the laughing emoji.

Brett McCabe 4 months, 3 weeks ago

There was a only one Athletic Department in the country capable of losing to the worst football coach in history.

Joe Black 4 months, 3 weeks ago

If he would have only been as good a football coach as he is a victim, we would have won the national championship.

Jeff Coffman 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm glad this is over.

I'm not sure that Level II allegations have ever gotten a coach fired for cause, therefore I probably should admit that I was for KU pursuing this from a principled perspective. KU likely would have won based on the contract, but this was always going to end up as a settlement. If KU hadn't had the basketball trouble there wouldn't have been as much leverage for Beaty. They found the key piece of information that forced KU's hand. I think many of you were ahead of KU on this, I was not.

Mike Hart 4 months, 3 weeks ago

See I find that last comment rather ironic... KU basketball trouble gave Beaty more leverage. It's like a subtle admission that what happened in the basketball program... stinks of impropriety. And I whole-heartedly. It's sad that everyone just wants to protect the basketball program at all costs.. and that many won't even admit that KU "likely" is guilty of cheating in the recruiting progress. I'm a huge KU fan, but a realist in looking at what apparently went down.

Jeff Coffman 4 months, 3 weeks ago

No, you inferred too much from my statement. KU has consistently benched any player that was paid by Adidas that is an undisputed fact.

As of right now, I have not seen evidence of a dirty program. I've seen Adidas with dirty runners. However, you don't want two court battles to get inter-twined and Beaty found the right leverage point.

Freddie Garza 4 months, 3 weeks ago

DANG! I guess Beaty wanted some extra cheese on his whopper...

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