The University of Kansas on Wednesday announced the departure of Athletics Director Jeff Long, saying it was necessary for the school to move in a “different direction.”
The move takes place less than 48 hours after the The school split from soccer coach Les Miles in the wake of malicious investigative reports listing allegations of sexual misconduct against him while studying at Louisiana State University.
“It is clear that my continued service as track and field director would only distract the nearly 500 incredible young men and women in our track and field department and the excellent coaches and staff who support them,” Long said a statement released by Kansas.
“Although this is extremely difficult for me, it is best for KU, for me and for my family, and I agree with this decision.”
Long was on a five-year contract that paid him $ 1.5 million annually and would run until July 31, 2023. If fired for no reason, he will receive nearly $ 3.6 million, subject to compensation from future earnings.
“I respect his selfless decision to step down so we can move Kansas Athletics in a different direction,” said Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod in a statement.
Long hired Miles shortly after arriving in Kansas in 2018, drawing on a long personal relationship they had in the 1980s when they were both working in Michigan.
After LSU released two reports last week detailing Miles’ 2013 investigation, the due diligence that Long had carried out on Miles has been called into question.
As of 2009, LSU recorded “significant alleged wrongdoing” by Miles, according to a report released Friday by Husch Blackwell, an outside law firm that hired the school to review its handling of sexual misconduct cases. These included Miles’ attempts to sexualize the staff of students who worked for the LSU soccer team in 2012, allegedly claiming he wanted “big-breasted blondes” and “pretty girls.”
A report published last Thursday of the Taylor Porter investigation in 2013 found that Miles had been issued a letter of reprimand after investigators found his conduct was inappropriate. Then-sporting director Joe Alleva had already prevented Miles from being alone with student workers, and Husch Blackwell noted that Alleva was so concerned after Taylor Porter’s investigation that he asked LSU to fire Miles in 2013.
Instead, Miles stayed with LSU until 2016 when he was fired after a 2-2 start.
Long defended his hiring process in a press conference TuesdayNothing came up in Miles’ “multiple” background checks or his conversations with LSU employees. He said he also asked Miles if there was anything to be concerned about, and Miles assured him that it was not.
“I also asked Coach Miles directly during the interview process if there was anything in the past that could potentially embarrass the university or myself or our program and he said no,” said Long.
It was only in February that Miles’ attorneys informed Kansas of a “lawsuit in Louisiana” in which Miles was involved, apparently referring to the lawsuit US TODAY had filed against LSU for publishing the 2013 investigation report against Miles.
The attorneys were unable to provide additional details or documentation, Long said, and when he asked Miles if Kansas had anything to worry about, “he reassured me no.”
USA TODAY sued LSU over a copy of the Taylor Porter report after the school refused to publish it, and Miles joined in that effort.
“At this point we requested copies of all reports on Les Miles while he was at LSU,” Long said. “We have been advised by Miles’ legal counsel for a number of reasons why they are not being made available to us.”
Miles eventually dropped his objections, saying that publication of the report was necessary to defend himself.
Kansas will be looking for a new track and field director not just at a time when its football program starts all over again, but its Bellcow basketball program is in the midst of a long and far-reaching NCAA violation case emerging from the FBI investigation into the College 2017 results in basketball corruption.
Kansas has been charged with five (most serious) Level 1 violations and two Level 2 violations, including charges of head coach responsibility against Bill Self and lack of institutional scrutiny. The NCAA’s case is based on evidence and testimony from a federal trial in which a former Adidas aide stated under oath that he facilitated payments to Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa for attending Kansas and was actively trying to recruit other players who violate the NCAA rules.
Kansas is fighting all of these Level 1 charges.
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