Miles to Go
When Jeff Long was hired as Kansas athletics director in July 2018, one bullet point of his five-year, $7.5-million (fully guaranteed) contract received widespread attention:
“Should the University be placed under any federal, state, NCAA, or Conference investigation leading to restrictions or probation for its football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, or women’s volleyball athletic programs for matters occurring prior to the Effective Date [August 1, 2018] of the Executive [Long], the term of the contract shall be extended equal to the length of the penalties.”
Translation: If the NCAA, for example, slapped Kansas basketball with a two-year postseason ban for violations stemming from the FBI investigation into college basketball corruption, Jeff Long’s deal would be extended two years. Turns out, we were focusing on the wrong bullet point. We should’ve been focusing on the first bullet point of the “Just Cause” termination section:
“Gross negligence or willful misconduct by the Executive in connection with his duties and responsibilities.”
We don’t know if Jeff Long knew of sexual misconduct allegations against Les Miles before Long hired his longtime friend as Kansas head coach in late 2018. We do know Long should’ve known or should’ve properly vetted the only real candidate he was chasing to replace David Beaty. And we know this is another systemic failure by universities to ignore, downplay, and/or deliberately cover up sexual misconduct in the name of football.
“It just baffles me, though, that for so long, this went on and that kinda became the normal, right?” a former LSU staff member said in the report detailing years of Miles’ actions. “And you just don’t talk about it and you don’t say anything, you just kinda go, ‘cuz we’re protecting LSU, we’re protecting our brand, we’re protecting our head coach, we’re protecting this, we love LSU so we’re gonna be loyal to LSU so we’re gonna do what we can to help it and try to fix it.”
ESPN had it right with its 2019 documentary series on Les Miles’s first year at Kansas, Miles to Go. We still have miles to go in addressing willful negligence by higher-education institutions, and Miles (and Long) should definitely go far away from college football.
More notes on the developing situation: Miles was placed on administrative by Kansas on Friday night ... Ross Dellenger wrote an honest, sobering self-reflection article on his relationship with Miles … The LSU allegations started with a failed quiz … How much it would cost Kansas to fire Long and Miles … My early guesses who could replace Miles as Kansas head coach.
NFL Free Agency
Eleven days before NFL free agency opens with the new league year at 4 p.m. ET on March 17, the league average in salary cap space is $19.6 million (Spotrac). Eight teams are still over the cap, including three teams at least $25 million over:
• Philadelphia Eagles: -$25.3 million
•Los Angles Rams: -$29.6 million
•New Orleans Saints: -$58.9 million
The Rams will be okay but the Eagles and Saints are in deep trouble, along with the Atlanta Falcons (-$15.1 million), Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti said on this week’s podcast episode. He also said the Carolina Panthers are shopping everyone, including Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey.
Of the 200 free agents ranked by Pro Football Focus, only two are projected to sign with any of those three teams: Brent Urban (Falcons on a one-year, $1.5-million deal), and Nickell Robey-Coleman (Eagles on a one-year, $2-million deal). Plus, why Jameis Winston fits with the Patriots, notes on a potential Julio Jones trade, and the Eagles’ trade market for Zach Ertz could be impacted by Kyle Rudolph’s release.
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