Kansas AD Claims It’s ‘Debatable’ If Les Miles Lied in 2018 Hire Interview

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Oct 31, 2020; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Les Miles watches team warm ups before the game against the Iowa State Cyclones at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

One day after Kansas and head football coach Les Miles mutually agreed to part ways, new details surrounding his tumultuous exit and hiring process have emerged.

Kansas will pay Miles almost $2 million under the settlement agreement reached following the release of LSU's 2013 sexual harassment investigation and the Husch Blackwell report released last week.

Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that this number represents what Miles would have been paid for the remainder of the year. The university and Miles announced their separation Monday night in a joint statement.

The settlement agreement also includes non-disparagement clauses, which explains why the statement did not include a specific reason for his departure. However, when 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.

“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.”

Long claimed that a series of background checks were conducted before the Jayhawks hired Miles in 2018, 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’ tenure at LSU and received no indications of any issues.”

When they learned of the legal dispute that was settled out of court, Long said Kansas “requested copies of any and all reported related to Miles when he was at LSU.”

“We were given a variety of reasons from Miles’s legal counsel why that would not be provided to us,” Long said.

LSU released a lengthy report from law firm Husch Blackwell on Friday, which detailed how the university handled past accounts of sexual misconduct and domestic assault, including sexual misconduct allegations against Miles.

According to the original internal report released by LSU on Thursday, Miles was banned from being alone with female students following the 2013 sexual harassment investigation. The initial report from eight years ago alleged Miles texted woman student workers on a burner phone, drove them alone to his condo and kissed a student on at least one occasion. Miles, who was directly involved with hiring student employees, reportedly "made it clear that he wanted these employees to have a certain 'look' (attractive, blond, fit)." Employees at the time that did not fit the description were to be given fewer hours or fired, according to the report.

In the new report released Friday, Husch Blackwell found that the LSU athletic department did not respond properly to the allegations against Miles. "We are not in a position to offer an opinion on whether the allegations are true or not," Husch Blackwell's report reads. "Instead, this issue is whether the University responded to this report against [Miles] ... in a manner consistent with then-existing legal guidance, well recognized best practices and institutional policy. The answer is 'no.'"

Stanley Jacobs, one of the few people briefed about the sexual misconduct allegations against the then-LSU football head coach, told Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger that he was encouraged to keep the matter quiet by attorneys and the then-school president. Jacobs even admitted that Miles's mutually parting ways made him "pause."

“It’s kept me up at night. Of course it has,” says Jacobs, a New Orleans attorney who served on the LSU Board of Supervisors for 18 years and played basketball for the Tigers in the 1960s. “Les resigning makes me pause but based on the evidence, I feel like we made the right decision. It’s the evidence we had before us.”

During Tuesday's press conference, Long also revealed that Miles had settled with one of the woman student workers who filed a complaint against him. The terms were not disclosed.