Kansas will pay Miles nearly $2 million in settlement deal
The University of Kansas will pay former head football coach Les Miles almost $2 million under the settlement agreement reached following the revelation that Miles had been investigated for sexual misconduct while he was at Louisiana State University.
That figure essentially represents what Miles would have been paid through the rest of the year, Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Kansas and Miles released a joint statement late Monday night announcing they’d mutually agreed to part ways. The settlement agreement includes non-disparagement clauses, which explains why the statement gave no specific reason for Miles’ departure nor any acknowledgment of the embarrassing disclosures of the last two weeks.
Pressed on why Kansas reached a settlement with Miles rather than trying to fire him for cause, Long said it was “debatable” whether Miles had lied to him when he was asked if there was anything that could be of concern to Kansas, and alluded to wanting to avoid a legal fight.
“There come times when institutions and athletic programs and universities have to make tough decisions,” Long said. “As I sought counsel from the university and the chancellor, we arrived at what we felt was in the best interest of the program and that was for us to mutually part ways with Les. To do that, we had to get to a certain amount of compensation.”
LSU “chronicled significant alleged misconduct” by Miles from 2009 on, according to a report released Friday 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.”
A day earlier, LSU had released the findings of another investigation, this one from 2013 that was devoted solely to Miles’ conduct. Taylor Porter investigators found his behavior inappropriate, and LSU issued a letter of reprimand. Then-athletic director Joe Alleva already had barred Miles from being alone with student workers, and Husch Blackwell found Alleva was so concerned after the Taylor Porter investigation that he urged LSU to fire Miles in 2013.
Instead, Miles remained at LSU until 2016, when he was fired after a 2-2 start.
Kansas has said it didn’t know about the allegations when it hired Miles in 2018. Long said Tuesday that the school did “multiple” background checks, and he himself asked Miles directly if there was anything that could be a concern.
“I also asked coach Miles, directly during the interview process, whether there was anything in the past that could potentially embarrass the university, or himself or our program, and he said no,” Long said. “We also did our due diligence by talking to individuals within the LSU athletic department to see if there was anything we should be aware of regarding coach Miles’ tenure at LSU and received no indications of any issues.”
Not until February did Miles’ attorneys let Kansas know of a “legal dispute in Louisiana” involving Miles. The attorneys could not provide any additional details nor documentation, Long said, and when he asked Miles if there was anything Kansas needed to be concerned about, “again he assured me no.”
“At that point, we requested copies of any and all reports related to Les Miles while he was at LSU,” Long said. “We were given a variety of reasons from Miles’ legal counsel why they would not be provided to us.”
USA TODAY had sued LSU for a copy of the Taylor Porter report after the school refused to release it, and Miles joined that effort, saying release of the findings would immediately cause “serious injury to his reputation and personal life” and “irreparable loss.”
Though East Baton Rouge District Court Judge Chip Moore indicated the bulk of the report would remain public, he ordered it sealed until a March 30 trial to hear Miles’ and LSU’s objections to the release.
On Feb. 24, USA TODAY reported that Miles had been the subject of a sexual misconduct investigation while at LSU. That same day The Advocate reported he had reached a settlement with an LSU student who accused Miles of “hitting on her.”
After the release of the Taylor Porter and Husch Blackwell reports, Long announced Friday that he’d placed Miles on administrative leave while Kansas did a “full review.” By Monday night, Miles was gone.
“I’m beyond disappointed that the University of Kansas is in this position,” Long said. “But it is absolutely the right decision for the university and our student athletes.”