Less than a day after defending Kansas's vetting process of Les Miles, director of athletics Jeff Long has stepped down from his position.
Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger confirmed the report, adding that there is a department-wide meeting at 2:45 pm CT. Dellenger also reports Kurt Watson, Kansas donor and alum, has been named the interim athletic director.
As part of a settlement agreement, Kansas will pay Long $1.375 million in monthly installments through February 2022.
Long released a statement following the announcement saying that if he continued to work as the director of athletics "would only serve as a distraction" to the athletes.
Just two days ago, Kansas "mutually agreed to part ways" with disgraced head coach Miles after reports of sexual misconduct released from his time at LSU. Long was the one who hired Miles in 2018.
In his first two seasons with the Jayhawks, Miles tallied a 3–18 record, including an 0–9 mark in 2020. The program has not accomplished a winning season since 2008.
On Tuesday, Long claimed that a series of background checks were conducted before the Jayhawks hired Miles and no one in LSU's athletic department raised any red flags.
“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’s tenure at LSU and received no indications of any issues.”
Long was pressed on why they chose a settlement agreement as opposed to firing Miles for just cause. The athletic director said it was "debatable" whether Miles lied to him in 2018 when asked if there was anything that could embarrass Kansas.
Long, who was also hired by Kansas in 2018, barely made it halfway through a five-year contract that paid him $1.5 million annually. If he was not fired for "just cause" prior to completing his contract, Long would be due his remaining salary, according to the Kansas City Star.
The Athletic's CJ Moore reports former Kansas basketball star and coaching assistant Danny Manning is interested in the school's now-open AD position.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod released a statement on Wednesday afternoon, reassuring the Jayhawks community that they won't "sacrifice the quality of a search simply for expediency" while searching for the next athletics director and football coach.
"While there will be a lot of speculation regarding potential candidates for both searches, I urge Jayhawks to have faith in the process and in those who are devoting their time to assist."