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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

AD Jeff Long defends KU’s vetting of Les Miles; KU reaches base settlement of nearly $2M with former coach

Kansas chancellor Doug Girod and Athletics Director Jeff Long talk before the game Saturday afternoon at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31, 2019.

Kansas chancellor Doug Girod and Athletics Director Jeff Long talk before the game Saturday afternoon at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31, 2019.

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With his hiring of former head football coach Les Miles now facing much public criticism, University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long on Tuesday defended his vetting process and provided some insight into what the search for Miles’ replacement would entail.

KU also announced that it reached a base settlement of nearly $2 million with Miles, whose departure was announced on Monday in the wake of allegations that he sexually harassed student employees while he was the head coach at LSU.

In a video news conference on Tuesday, Long said the university “ran multiple background” checks on Miles before hiring him in 2018. Long also said he asked Miles during that process whether anything in the coach’s past could “potentially embarrass the university or himself or our program,” and Miles told him “no.”

What’s more, Long said KU performed its “due diligence” by speaking with people within LSU’s athletic department to find out if there were any situations KU needed to be aware of, “and we received no indications of any issues.”

In February, Long said, Miles’ lawyers informed KU about a legal dispute in Louisiana involving the Jayhawks’ coach, but they didn't elaborate on the nature of the matter or provide any legal documents. Long said that he asked Miles at that time whether KU should be concerned about the dispute and that Miles said "no."

Long also reiterated his claim that KU didn’t learn about the extent of the harassment allegations or LSU's investigations on Miles until the reports were made public to everyone. In Miles’ two-plus years at KU, Long said, no one reported to him any details about alleged misconduct involving the coach.

Miles' attorney Peter Ginsberg, however, has said KU was provided with "significant information" about the 2013 reports from LSU before they were made public. The Journal-World on Tuesday asked Ginsberg about any documents that were provided to KU related to past allegations concerning Miles and LSU. Ginsberg, however, declined to confirm what, if any, documents were provided to the university. He said the settlement between KU and Miles now puts restrictions on what he and Miles can say about the matter.

When he hired Miles, Long said KU was aware of a 2013 Sports Illustrated report about how a student hostess program at Oklahoma State called “Orange Pride” put an emphasis on “prettier and more outgoing women” during Miles’ time with that team. More than a dozen former OSU players told Sports Illustrated that a small number of “Orange Pride” members had sexual relations with players during recruiting visits. Miles said at the time of the Sports Illustrated report that he wasn’t aware of reports that recruits had been sleeping with the student hostesses.

Long pointed to subsequent reports that led to OSU and the NCAA issuing a joint statement that described various Sports Illustrated allegations as “unfounded.”

The settlement

KU announced Tuesday that it agreed to pay Miles a base settlement of $1,991,062.50. The agreement also calls for another set of payments for services due in March 2021, but it is not yet clear what that amount will total. The coach’s original five-year contract with KU stated that if Miles was fired without cause, he would be owed the remaining amount of his salary under the contract, which paid him $2.775 million per year. With the settlement, KU avoided paying Miles that entire sum, which would have been more than $7.3 million.

Long said KU would pay for the settlement with “athletic department revenue, whether that’s through our Williams Fund donations or whether that’s through operational dollars that we achieve.” No university funds would be involved, he said.

Settlements with football coaches aren't new for KU. In 2020, KU settled with its previous coach, David Beaty, for $2.55 million after Long fired Beaty in 2018 and a legal battle ensued.

Long called the situation with Miles “very different” from the situation with Beaty and said he didn’t compare the two. He said the battle over paying Beaty involved alleged NCAA violations, while paying Miles involved “something else.”

Near the conclusion of the news conference on Tuesday, Long was asked why KU didn’t fire Miles for cause if Miles lied to Long about his past.

“That is debatable whether that’s a lie, and I’ll leave that to our legal people to dissect that out," Long said. "We felt it was important to move our program forward; that we needed to basically agree to mutually part and pay Les through the remainder of 2021.”

Search for a new coach

A day after moving on from Miles, Long said he would continue evaluating which assistant football coach would be elevated to the interim head coach spot, and that new offensive coordinator Mike DeBord would remain the acting head coach for now.

But Long also made it clear that the plan at this point was to conduct a national search for a permanent head coach.

Long said he didn't have a timeline yet for the search. In the coming days, he said KU would speak with alumni and former players and determine which search firm to hire. He said the search firm would add candidates to KU’s pool of potential hires, a group he said included some coaches who already have shown interest in the vacancy.

Long said there were no leading candidates for the job at this point.

In March 2020, depositions from Beaty’s court battle with Kansas Athletics Inc. over his buyout money included some questions for Long about his hiring of Miles and the ESPN+ online series “Miles To Go,” which in part documented portions of the search for Beaty’s replacement.

In those documents, Long says he can't remember some of the candidates he interviewed for the head coach job in 2018. Long provided the name of Todd Graham (then the 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… it’s not coming to me.” Long apparently was referencing Rams offensive assistant Jedd Fisch. Long then also forgot the name of the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator, Lou Anarumo. He said he interviewed those three candidates and Miles in person.

On Tuesday, Long was asked what his response would be to KU fans who might not want him involved in the search process this time around.

“I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the University of Kansas, or any university, for an outside entity to control a search process,” Long replied. “I’m very comfortable and confident in my years of college football. I’m confident that I can conduct the search. I’m confident that I can find the next leader of the (KU football program).”

The AD also didn’t voice any concern about the status of his own job when asked about it, and he said that KU Chancellor Douglas Girod would be involved in the search process, “as I would do with any search.” Girod also was involved in the decision to part ways with Miles, Long said.

Comments

Brett McCabe 1 year, 6 months ago

Maybe make another deal with ESPN called Miles Gone. The money could help offset the buyout.

If the buyout is anything near $2 million, then we came out like rose.

The sooner Jeff Long shuts up, the better. He likes hiring big name coaches. And losing to no name coaches. And that is the depth of our experience with Jeff Long at KU. Two buyouts in under three years. Does that break Zenger’s record?

Maybe he can take Brent Dearmon to court and find a way to pay him $2 million to not coach at KU? These are some seriously incompetent people. And yet, we pay them millions to go 0-9.

Chris Condren 1 year, 6 months ago

Let’s figure this out. The KUAD did everything right and Les Miles did bad things that made it impossible for Miles to continue as the football coach. Add in the fact that the KUAD will pay nearly 2 million dollars to Miles. The only way to square this must be the KUAD lies. Stare them. Donate nothing to the KUAD. Demand honesty.

Charlie Gaughn 1 year, 6 months ago

It's time to step back and take a deep breath regarding KU football. We've tried every type of coach out there and we've still not had any success. We're not going to find that "diamond in the rough" two weeks before most programs are starting spring practice. It's time to just suck it up and take another beating this season then look for the solution once obligations are over. Face it, if we found a coach that would abandon a program at this point in the season would we really trust them to stand by KU, win or lose. I think the first step is to trash Jeff Long and replace him. Put an assistant in as interim head coach until we have a new athletic director. Then, depending on how the interim coach does, go all out on a young coach that has ties to Kansas Football. We don't need another "quick fix" or dumbass like Charlie Weis.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 6 months ago

Long is confident he can find the next leader for KU football, but what’s the probability that the leader will be successful? How many successful coaches has he hired? I know of at least 2 failures. What’s a blind squirrel’s chance?

Bryce Landon 1 year, 6 months ago

Does anyone here really think that the Kansas Lolcows will ever find a coach who can turn the program around?

And does anyone think that Jeff Long, the guy who thought bringing scummy Bobby Petrino to Arkansas, the guy who just made Kansas a national punchline again by firing Les Miles after two seasons, is capable of finding a coach who can turn things around?

If so, I have two things to say to you:

1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctr9Z...

2) ON IOWA!

1 year, 6 months ago

circus. absolute circus. you cant Make this sh*t up!

Rodney Schulz 1 year, 6 months ago

This is exactly the predicament KU and Lawrence deserve for becoming such a bastion of hypocritical liberalism. It’s unfortunate the place can’t be relocated to Venezuela, San Francisco, NY or Portland, complete with human feces and used hypodermic needles on the sidewalk. And oh yes, let’s throw financial insolvency into the mix.

Trace Stark 1 year, 6 months ago

Interesting
stuff. Nonsensical and angry.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 6 months ago

The Long and the short of it is that it won't take Long for people for people to realize that Long is Long gone, due the long list of AD failures that to write them in Longhand, would take too long. Then maybe we can go back to the days we Long for when watching a KU football game was not a Long afternoon of Long faces and Long periods of bad football. It's time for the end of the Longest stretch of losing KU football be ended.

I apologize for going Long on this post but all I want is for all of us to get ALong.

Robert Brock 1 year, 6 months ago

LSU investigated the allegations and did not fire Miles for that “cause.” LSU fired him for running a stagnant offense.

So, here we are, many years later, and Kansas fires Les Miles over the very unproven allegations that LSU passed on. Good grief!

Mike Hart 1 year, 6 months ago

Unproven allegations.. hmm... how about preponderance of the evidence. Jeff Long and Les Miles have been friends for over 20 years. When Les was having his sexual misconduct allegations at LSU... Miles denied it, but I guess the female students were lying? But the LSU AD banned Miles from being alone with female students and and to not text them, etc. Then more students came forward 2 years later, claiming Miles was using a burner phone to contact them, kissing a student twice while in his car and suggesting they got to a motel after telling her that he could help her career. Miles denied it, I guess these students were lying too. As the LSU AD himself said in 2013, it was probably time to fire Miles. Miles denied kissing anyone, being alone with anyone. He denied. When the legal firms started investigating on behalf of LSU.. and investigating LSU's response to variety of sexual misconduct allegations (involving star football players and others)... there were report after report from LSU staffers about Miles inappropriate behavior. Miles denied, so clearly the LSU staffers were lying? Taylor Porter law firm hired on behalf of LSU deemed Miles behavior inappropriate. Miles denied the validity of the findings, but I guess the LSU-hired law firm was lying. Of course, the fact that Miles financially settled with the student in question is irrelevant? Miles had a reputation at LSU for being soft on players accused of violence against women, allowing players to return to competition while criminal charges against them were pending (see RB Derrius Guice, who was never one disciplined despite a litany of accusations). LSU “chronicled significant alleged misconduct” by Miles from 2009 on, according to a report released by Husch Blackwell, an outside law firm the school hired to review its handling of sexual misconduct cases. That included Miles’ attempts to sexualize the staff of students working for the LSU football team in 2012, allegedly demanding he wanted “blondes with big boobs” and “pretty girls". Miles denied the validity of the findings. I guess the legal staff was lying. Let's not forget the "Orange Pride" scandal at OSU which happened under Miles' tenure where recruits were introduced to female "hostesses" who had sex with recruits. Miles played a central role with Orange Pride, as he actually vetted the female student applicants.. with membership in the Orange Pride tripling in 2004 under Miles. Of course, Miles denied his awareness that this was happening". Perhaps the OSU football players and members of the Orange Pride hostess squad are all lying about it. Why are there always female staffers and volunteer students constantly complaining about Miles and giving depositions against him at both OSU and LSU? If Miles did nothing wrong, and he was being fired without just cause, why did he settle for $1.99MM when his contract clearly owes him just over $8MM? Track record and contractual buyout details tell the real story.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 6 months ago

So KUAD says LSU told them nothing, the attorney said 'significant information' but didn't provide it, at least not yet, stories got published a couple of weeks ago...if LSU had an internal story that they kept hidden that's bad on them, but if Miles didn't mention it...I honestly don't know, he should have mentioned there was an internal investigation, had he done so he'd probably still be coach right now.

I think it's fair to say, KU, Miles, and LSU all have some level of culpability here, and the ones really paying for it are the fans, the boosters, and MOST of all the players, some of whom will have seen 4 head coaches during their tenure.

I' suggest we get ourselves an average coach. Someone who can get us to .500. If that's it, that's good enough for now We shot our wad and went big with a national championship coach, we went max blast full afterburner and failed. Have to shoot for averageness as the limit of what is achievable.

Matthew Pyle 1 year, 6 months ago

Long needs to go. To allow that guy to hire two coaches is a travesty. No more interest from me. At this rate we will be D2 by 2025.

Michael Maris 1 year, 6 months ago

Well, since the "FIRING" of Mark Mangino, KU AD has hired a supposedly Mid-Major HC (Turner Gill), Former Superbowl Winning and FAILED Notre Dame HC (Charlie Weis), a Position Coach who had NO Collegiate HC'ing experience what so ever (David Beaty). And now, a former National Championship HC (Les Miles).

So, I'd say that the Mangino Curse has been very effective in destroying the Jayhawks Football program (since his termination took affect).

Michael Leiker 1 year, 6 months ago

Saw a "Jayhawk Relief Fund" ad last night, made my stomach turn. Same day he settles with his buddy for 2mil that he could have avoided paying he's pleading poverty. Only in college athletics. Just gets worse and worse.

Adam Bengtson 1 year, 6 months ago

Does anyone have balls anymore to make decisions? Caving to a 2013 report? The university deserves this problem as far as I’m concerned. Why alumni donate to this athletic department at this point is a flat out mystery.

Bob Strawn 1 year, 6 months ago

Ku was 18-99 the last decade. K-State was 23-85-3 the ten years before Snyder arrived. Perhaps it's time for another Snyder to come to Kansas.

Carolyn Hunzicker 1 year, 6 months ago

Long probably had someone down south release and start something,,,,

WHEN WILL KANSANS WAKE UP.....FIRE LONG PERIOD

HE HAS MADE ANOTHER BIG MESS WITH WOMENS BASKETBALL.....YEARS AND YEARS OF A LOSING PROGRAM AND ALWAYS LAST IIN THE BIG 12 why ???

We haven't had a decent ladys basketball coach since WASHINGTON SAD SAD SAD

Trace Stark 1 year, 6 months ago

Have to believe Long was hired primarily for assumed fund-raising acumen.His hiring record here is atrocious. We agree with your assessment... Rock Chalk.

Joe Black 1 year, 6 months ago

Hire Katie Sowers as the new head football coach. It checks off a lot of the boxes and she has NFL experience. And she is from Hesston KS.

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