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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Deposition alleges Long planned to fire Beaty before 2018 season began

Testimony also alleges inappropriate comments by KU's AD

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long looks up into the stands late in the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks' 27-3 loss to Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long looks up into the stands late in the fourth quarter of the Jayhawks' 27-3 loss to Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 at Memorial Stadium.

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Newly released depositions from former Kansas football coach David Beaty’s ongoing court battle with Kansas Athletics Inc. include claims that Athletic Director Jeff Long planned to fire Beaty even before the coach’s final season with the Jayhawks began.

Matthew Baty, formerly the director of the Williams Education Fund, while under oath and answering questions from Beaty’s lawyers on Feb. 28, testified he met with donors prior to Beaty’s firing in order to outlay a plan for the coach’s termination and explain the funds KU would need as a result.

Baty said those conversations with donors happened in October of 2018, before Beaty was fired in November. Baty also revealed Long said in private conversations as early as August of 2018, shortly after Long became KU’s AD, that he wanted to fire Beaty.

In his deposition, Baty also said it was apparent from those discussions before the season began that Long wanted to hire Les Miles as Beaty’s replacement.

In the months that followed, Baty testified, members of the athletic department asked him a lot of “pointed” and “personal” questions about KU’s head football coach in order to dig up information on Beaty’s personal life, including the coach’s “sex life” and “was he a good guy, bad guy” kind of questions.

Baty said Chris Freet, KU’s deputy athletics director for external engagement, asked those questions and even asked Baty if he had any knowledge of Beaty cheating on his wife.

Baty testified he is close with Beaty. Baty left his position with the Williams Fund in late November of 2018.

Long fired Beaty in early November of 2018, with three games remaining in the season. It appeared the termination would be without cause, but Beaty never received his $3 million buyout, leading to the lawsuit. KU would eventually send a letter to Beaty a year later to notify him he was terminated with cause because of the alleged violations that occurred during his tenure, involving a noncoaching staff member acting in a coaching role.

Beaty’s lawyers also asked Baty whether he ever heard Long make inappropriate comments about KU donors. Baty said Long made a comment “sexual in nature” and “inflammatory” about an older female donor.

During that line of questioning, Baty also said he heard Long make a comment about “jokingly” wanting to have his hotel room for a trip booked next door to a female KU employee.

Regarding the alleged inappropriate comments detailed in Baty’s deposition, KU’s associate athletic director for public relations, Dan Beckler, stated Tuesday: “As a general rule, the university does not comment on pending legal matters. However, in this instance, we feel compelled to note that Mr. Baty’s deposition is full of outright fabrications, lies and false attributions. As we have said all along, we are confident this matter will be appropriately resolved in court.”

In a separate deposition unsealed this week, Beaty’s lawyers questioned Long on Feb. 27.

Long said he began giving “serious consideration” to firing Beaty after KU opened the season with a home loss to Nicholls.

When asked about the timing of his conversations with potential new head coaches, Long said he “may have” returned calls and given “verbal indications” to inquiries he received regarding the head coach position before Beaty was fired.

KU’s AD testified that there “may have” been phone calls he had with Miles in the time before Beaty was fired.

“Clearly Les Miles and his agent had expressed interest in the job should it come open,” Long said in his deposition.

Long said he wasn’t aware of any NCAA violations at the time he fired Beaty.

The deposition also included questioning about the online series, “Miles To Go,” which streamed on ESPN+ and documented Long’s coaching search, as well as Miles’ first season with the program.

Lawyers asked about one early scene in which there is footage of Miles before he was hired by KU, and whether the show’s producers were aware Miles would be hired when that footage was shot in the former LSU head coach’s home.

“They took the chance that it was going to be Les Miles,” Long said of a camera crew’s presence before Miles was hired.

Asked who else he interviewed for the job, Long provided the name of Todd Graham (former head coach at Arizona State), before going into other candidates.

“And then there was the gentleman — and again, I’m struggling with his name. He was working with the LA Rams at the time. I could fins his name, but it’s not coming to me.” Long apparently was referring to Rams offensive assistant Jedd Fisch.

Long then also forgot the name of the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator, Lou Anarumo.

Long said he interviewed those three candidates in person, as well as Miles.

At one point during Long’s deposition, lawyers asked him if Miles suffers from dementia — prompted by a hypothetical KU fan question posed in an email to Long.

“I’m not a physician and I’m not aware that he does,” Long replied.

Long said he thought that dementia talking point ended up in the document because on a Kansas State-related website that theory was put out during recruiting.

“And then it was picked up by a number of people,” Long said, “and they started claiming that Coach Miles may have mental deficiencies.”

Long said he didn’t believe that was the case.

Comments

Joe Ross 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Pay Beaty his money and be rid of this fiasco.

Even the allegations do damage, given the context of Kansas' other legal battles.

Len Shaffer 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hear, hear! I've been saying that from the beginning. It's ridiculous that KU got involved in this whole mess, for a relatively small amount by athletic-department standards.

Just pay the man his damn money and move on!

Dale Rogers 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't condone the sexual comments. But what's the big deal about knowing who he wants as the next coach and not giving more than lip service to other candidates? Big deal. He had personal experience with Les Miles from when they worked together. He knew the man's personality and his chops. This is the guy he wants. That's his job, to make that decision. Big deal. He will be judged on the success or failure of that decision. The sexual comments, however, were out of line.

Brett McCabe 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The most interesting thing to me is how our opponents are using Miles' struggles with public speaking against us in recruiting. The story suggests that Long had zeroed in so hard on Miles that he may not have done his own due diligence in an interview setting.

There is nothing wrong with knowing who you want, but you do have to do the work no matter what. That's what you get paid for - not to make obvious mistakes.

For 2021, KSU is way ahead of us in Kansas recruiting. There are reasons for this outside of what they are saying about our coach, including a 20-plus year history of being a winning program while we have a 10-plus year history of being the worst team in the conference and one of the worst in the county. I think that Kleinman is building on that and he's going after the mental state of our coach - hard.

As I've written in the past, I don't care where the recruits come from - it's irrelevant. All that matters is if we get the right ones from somewhere. If Miles can get the roster bolstered, it will be up to the next guy to move us along another step.

Dane Pratt 6 months, 3 weeks ago

If he decided to fire Beaty before the 2018 season doesn’t change anything but now we’re airing our dirty laundry in public. That’s what we get for opening up this can of worms. For the love of God settle this thing and be done with it.

Clarence Haynes 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Looks like a Latin Novela (AKA Soap Opera) that goes on and on and on. Beaty ‘s done enough damage to the KU Athletic Program. Reach a settlement and move on!

Joe Ross 6 months, 3 weeks ago

If I were Kansas:

"The University of Kansas has decided to settle the lawsuit with former coach David Beaty. While we accept no wrongdoing, it is within the interests of the University to move on from these allegations to put down uncertainty around the football program at Kansas, which has made strides in rebuilding. While we reject the plaintiff's arguments emphatically, sometimes progress has a price (dig at Beaty). It suits the interests of the football coaching staff, the football program more generally, and all of the University to move beyond the proceedings so that a brighter future for Kansas football may come into focus."

Or word it however.

As part of the settlement, put gag orders in place. Be careful who you hire. And for the love of God everyone associated with Kansas athletics from the AD down to assistant coaches needs to be careful which words they allow to get past their teeth (looking at you, Townsend).

My personal message to David Beaty: you weren't worth $300,000. If that. I believe you are an honorable man outside of the fact that you are demanding an amount of money you never deserved or produced, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself for that much. Good riddance to you after Kansas ponies up and pays you the hush money.

So hush it.

Greg Ledom 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Joe, I agree with you with the exception of what Beaty is owed. Regardless of whether we feel he's worthy, and he's not (agree with your there), he is deserving of whatever was contractually agreed to. If it's proven he is, then pay him, if not, then don't and let's get on down the road. In general, I'm in the camp of many posters on this topic in that we should have just paid him, cut bait, and moved on, rather than dragging the University through more crap of which we already have plenty to deal with.

Ben Zeppa 6 months, 3 weeks ago

It's not his D*** money when he knowingly brought on level 2 violations by throwing a tantrum and having a video guy be psudo OC and saying he'll pay him "under the table" OC money. Let's forget he was about the worst at his profession that I have seen, it's the intentional harm he tried to do KU when he was axed that will allow me to stomach anything to avoid him getting rewarded for his behavior. I understand the PR vs principle debate, I just fall on the principle side.

Dirk Medema 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Everyone knew that Beaty was gone unless he had an incredible turnaround. It’s the reason there were 0 recruits on board. There were 3 very winnable games that year that would have made us bowl eligible and a decision to fire Beaty more difficult, but that’s a non-issue because he verified that he wasn’t up to the task of leading the team to victories.

Besides the cause/no cause argument, and any public image perspective, he stayed around for 3 extra games out of commitment to the players and university. That seems far more honorable than the deceitful bait and switch being presented by the administration.

Spencer Goff 6 months, 3 weeks ago

That last paragraph is completely on point. This whole thing seems dirty to me.

Jeff Coffman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

An employee leaving the company would not sign a document stating that there was no known NCAA violations. An investigation ensued and Beaty had fostered a level 2 NCAA violation. He basically created a for cause clause. The trick is that he was no longer the coach, but was owed significant money.

I'm pretty sure KU will win this one, I'm just not sure it is worth it.

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