Originally published March 12, 2019 at 06:03p.m., updated March 12, 2019 at 06:36p.m.

Former KU football coach David Beaty suing Kansas Athletics for $3 million

KU: Money being withheld pending investigation into alleged violations

Kansas head coach David Beaty looks over to an official during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Baylor, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Waco, Texas.

Kansas head coach David Beaty looks over to an official during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Baylor, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Waco, Texas.


The David Beaty era at the University of Kansas may have ended on the field in November of 2018, but the athletic department that fired him hasn’t heard the last from its former embattled head football coach.

Beaty filed a lawsuit against his former employer, Kansas Athletics Inc., on Tuesday, alleging a breach of contract and unpaid wages of $3 million owed to him.

KU Athletic Director Jeff Long fired Beaty with three games remaining in the 2018 season, Beaty’s fourth year in charge of the program. Per the contract extension Beaty signed in 2016, if Kansas Athletics fired him without cause, he would be owed $3 million.

According to attorneys at Dallas-based Deans & Lyons LLP, Kansas Athletics officials “immediately began discussing what it would take to avoid the $3 million payout,” after firing Beaty, and allowing him to finish out the season.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas by Deans & Lyons and Kansas City-based Scharnhorst Ast Kennard Griffin PC, states that the athletic department wanted to find “something” on Beaty, such as “a dead hooker in [his] closet.”

While the university doesn’t typically comment on unresolved lawsuits, athletics department spokesman Jim Marchiony said Tuesday evening the nature of the court filing warranted a response.

“Beaty was informed he would not be retained by KU on November 4, 2018, but would be able to coach the remaining games. Immediately following the end of the season, Kansas Athletics staff conducted standard exit interviews of all football coaches and staff, and through that process we learned of possible NCAA violations allegedly committed by Beaty,” Marchiony stated. “KU contacted the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference and began an investigation into the matter. Beaty refused to cooperate with the KU review and, ultimately, the NCAA took the lead in the still-ongoing investigation.”

If proven true, those violations would be deemed just cause for the termination of Beaty’s contract, Marchiony pointed out.

“The university has withheld payment of money owed to Beaty pending the outcome of the NCAA investigation,” Marchiony said. “In a show of good faith, the university has placed the full amount owed in escrow.”

On behalf of Kansas Athletics, Marchiony added: “While disappointed in the court filing, the university is committed to seeking the truth and upholding our high standards of ethical conduct.”

According to attorneys representing Beaty, the former KU football coach was informed on Dec. 13 that Kansas Athletics had initiated an investigation into allegations “involving a member of the football staff and that Kansas Athletics would not make the guaranteed payments until its self-initiated investigation was completed.”

Per the attorneys, Beaty has cooperated with the investigation and maintains he was “unaware of any violations of any NCAA rules while the head football coach at KU.”

Beaty did not respond to multiple requests from the Journal-World seeking comment on Tuesday night.

Deans & Lyons co-founder Michael Lyons stated Tuesday that Kansas Athletics has “moved the goal posts” on Beaty since the conclusion of his tenure as KU football coach.

“Kansas Athletics can’t walk back its decision to terminate Coach Beaty without cause after confirming it publicly, privately, and in writing,” Lyons stated. “Coach Beaty and his family will always cherish their time at KU, but they do not understand why Kansas Athletics has reneged on its promises.”

Later Tuesday evening, Kansas Athletics made an amendment to its original statements, making sure to add that the law suit was "full of false claims and factual misstatements, including that KU's Director of Athletics made salacious comments about seeking reasons to withhold payment from Beaty. Simply, that did not happen."

Hired by former KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger in December of 2014, Beaty went 6-42 as the Jayhawks’ head football coach over the course of four seasons, 2015-18.

KU’s 3-9 mark in his final season was its best under Beaty, who had three years remaining on the contract extension he signed in 2016 when the deal was terminated.

Long hired Les Miles, former head coach at LSU and Oklahoma State, as Beaty’s replacement two weeks after firing Beaty.


Sae Thirtysix 3 years, 5 months ago

It wasn’t the Athletic Department who ‘putting the body in the closet’ - - it was Brett McCoob.

Brian Wilson 3 years, 5 months ago

Talk about piling it on!!!

So now we have the NCAA investigating our football program. Great, just Great! Not to mention having a KU tennis player involved in the largest college enrollment fraud ever.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

Former KU tennis player. Like 20 years ago former. That fraud had nothing to do with KU except as clickbait.

Waylon Cook 3 years, 5 months ago

Brian, the former KU player and coach was last here in 1996. He is literally a coach at a Big 12 school, nothing to do with KU. Surprised you didn't #justiceforjussie as well.

Joe Joseph 3 years, 5 months ago

lol - and we all thought the Beaty saga was over.

Luke Smith 3 years, 5 months ago

Can we begin a class action suit against Beaty for the hours lost and punitive emotional damage from watching those 48 games that he coached?

Brett McCabe 3 years, 5 months ago

For the most overpaid failure in the history of Kansas Athletics, it's not surprising that he never self-applied his slogan: Earn It. The misery of this boneheaded hire just seems to find new ways to haunt us.

The only stunning thing about this development is that there are actual self-described KU fans who spent the last 4 years defending the incompetence, and continue to do so today.

Thank you Jeff Long for calling out the fact that Beaty was never a "good guy". Just a doof who couldn't recruit, couldn't coach, couldn't solve problems and couldn't win.

Chris Bailey 3 years, 5 months ago

I never defended his incompetence. I thought it was a bad hire from the beginning. When SZ extended his contract my head almost exploded.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

Correcting ignorance is not the same as defending incompetence.

Beaty was not a good game day coach, but any one with any critical thinking skills knew that we weren't going to get a good coach for $800k per year. That unfortunately was the reality of the budget and blackhole provided and created by Zenger's previous coaching hire/fail. A common comment when he was hired was that we hoped he would grow into the position. Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Just because some people that didn't bail on the team also didn't complain about it doesn't mean that they/we were defending it.

It is understandable that you would be b----y though, because you love to parade around the nonsense that Beaty couldn't do anything. He most certainly did recruit and coach, just not very well on game days. The roster is in light-years better condition than when he arrived, which is the reason why Coach Miles would say that we weren't far off. Realistically, with better game day coaching we could reasonably have been at a bowl game this year. That is so so far from where we were 4 years ago.

The fact that he can coach (just not game day) is also very evident in the player development and the number receiving post-season recognition. There was no one even sniffing post-season awards when he first got here, and were few highly regarded players in any class, but they developed with this coaching staff. And the players stayed totally loyal and committed to him, even with all the losing. That is good coaching; leadership. You'll probably want to dismiss the player development as something created by the assistants, but that's part of being the HC and leadership.

It was time for him to go, but he wasn't the doof.

The article also points out how he was definitely greater than so many here. In spite of losing, and even losing his job, he never quit on the team. It is a shame that more people can't claim as much. He definitely deserves respect for that, though you weren't around to notice now were you.

Armen Kurdian 3 years, 5 months ago

I'm betting they went 'doctor-shopping' to find some excuse not to pay him. I think in the end he's going to get paid and nothing is going to come of violations.

Dane Pratt 3 years, 5 months ago

But he was fired before the possible ncaa infractions were known by KU. Doesn't that mean he was fired without cause? Sounds like KU is using the "for cause" part of his contract retroactively.

Phil Leister 3 years, 5 months ago

Exactly. But if you fire a guy without cause and then quickly discover cause, is there an out?

Steven Haag 3 years, 5 months ago

I agree Armen. If KU is withholding the 3 million, then shame on them. Doesn’t matter if he couldnt coach a lick, it was in the agreement. To grasp at straws to try and withhold it is shameful. One day, hopefully, we can close this painful chapter in our football embarrassment.

Chris DeWeese 3 years, 5 months ago

Agreed. Just pay the man so we never have to hear his name again.

Jim Stauffer 3 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like to me KU has money problems that are cumulative from 10 years of bad FB. Look at the money we paid Lew, Turner and Weis and that is the reason we can't afford to pay Beaty who was the classiest guy of all. He worked hard and gave it his best effort. That is more than anyone can say for the others who collected over 20 million. I am ashamed to be a season ticket holder of this school at this juncture.

Titus Canby 3 years, 5 months ago

The money is being held in escrow pending the results of the investigation, as it should be. If the results show no wrongdoing, he gets the money. If the results do show wrongdoing, then the termination was for cause. Not sure whether the retroactive thing is legally considered "for cause" though.

But... seems to me like a record of 6-42 can be considered "for cause."

Dirk Medema 3 years, 5 months ago

It is good that the money is at least in escrow.

The fact is though that he was terminated prior to any knowledge of any wrong doing, so he termination was not based on any wrong doing. It was based on other factors.

History would indicate that you are mistaken about a bad record being considered "for cause". It's not been applied to any other coach fired for a bad record.

Michael Leiker 3 years, 5 months ago

Would like to see some reporting around the timeline on when they would have learned this and if it corresponds to when the offer to lock in season ticket prices for 3 years with a commitment to purchase occurred.

Gary Wilson 3 years, 5 months ago

I hope we don't lose all those wins last year!

Brad Watson 3 years, 5 months ago

I wasn't a big fan of Coach....but he deserves his money and if what he is claiming is real....well....nobody would appreciate being treated like that...nobody!...Classless!...Honor the contract.

Allin Herring 3 years, 5 months ago

Another NCAA investigation ! Just how dirty is the athletic department? That is the real story here.

Fred Davis 3 years, 5 months ago

This is a bad look for the school and Jeff Long. As bad as Beaty was on the sidelines, the program is in better shape than when he found it. Give the guy his $3M and close the book on another sad coaching hire, but more importantly - the Zenger Era.

Al Martin 3 years, 5 months ago

It is a bad look, regardless of the shape Beaty left the program in. A contract is a contract.

Bill Kackley 3 years, 5 months ago

I agree pay the man, seems like KU has enough money to hire approximatle double the football staf that Beaty was allowed. Bad coach or not he has more honor that KU athletics. Shame on them.

Mike Hart 3 years, 5 months ago

The fact that Kansas Athletic Department staff did their exit interviews... AFTER the decision was made to fire Beaty .. .and to allow him to coach the remaining 3 games of the season... PROVES that he was not fired for just causes... or anything known at the time. They simply decided that it was time to let him go and make a change... fully understanding that there was a $3MM payout. You can't go back in time and now say he was fired for some allegations of impropriety. Ridiculous that they are trying to weasel out of paying the man... regardless of your personal opinion, like or dislike of Beaty may be. I find it ironic that KU is so proactive when it comes to investigating Beaty and trying to find a loophole. As the article says: "KU contacted the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference and began an investigation into the matter". Did you hear that? KU began an investigation on its own while simultaneously informing the NCAA. Meanwhile, on the basketball program, head of KU Athletics and the Chancellor "supposedly" hasn't even had a conversation with Kurtis Townsend and his documented recruiting conversations with Adidas. They won't speak out on that.. but they'll comment and speak out on Beaty. Very selective in what/who they offer up to NCAA.. and what KU will investigate itself. Ridiculous...

Len Shaffer 3 years, 5 months ago

Well said, Mike. And yet another black eye for KU.

Eric Eakins 3 years, 5 months ago

This is a no win situation once again. If Long is trying to get out of an agreement to save $3mil then he is pulling similar crap that Lew pulled with Mangino. Creating a crisis to justify an action. Not good leadership. On the other hand if Beaty and staff were bending the rules but were able to avoid detection until someone sang on the way out the door then everything we were told about Beaty's integrity is suspect and now both of our key sports are under investigation. Institutional control is also suspect again. KU needs to figure out how to compete within the boundaries set. And unfortunately it is the kids / fans who always get the short end of this. The big boys get million dollar buyouts for losing/dishonesty/or both and move on to the next gig.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 5 months ago

I guess the Beaty slogan "Earn It" only applied to his players and not to him. Wasn't he the lowest-paid coach in the conference? And still overpaid? He didn't earn a single penny of what he got. And now an NCAA investigation? Looks like I'll be cheering for the Hawkeyes during football season for years to come. ON IOWA!

Len Shaffer 3 years, 5 months ago

That's an insult to douches everywhere ...

Barry Weiss 3 years, 5 months ago

Have they identified the dead hooker in the closet?

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 5 months ago

Just a few notes: 1) KU owes $3MM to Beaty if he was terminated without cause.

2) KU owes that money after 30 days of 6 payments following each month (so $500,000/month), which includes investigations. KU did pay that amount, pending the conclusion of an NCAA investigation into Beaty. Even if KU at the time of the termination did not know, since it was within the 30 days he could still be fired for cause. If they found out at month 3, they could still hold the cash thereafter due.

3) KU has to do these things right, else we lose a lot more.

I'd love to see the Beaty Saga end, but to say KU is not following the contract is not accurate.

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