KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long insisted Tuesday that he knew nothing about allegations of sexual harassment and miscoduct toward female student employees against Les Miles during his tenure at LSU.
Long, who said he’s known Miles for 30 years and considers him a friend, made the remarks during a virtual press conference about the decision to “part ways” on Monday with the former Jayhawks football coach after two seasons.
“I’m beyond disappointed that the University of Kansas is in this position, but it is absolutely the right decision,” Long said.
The former KU coach was accused of inappropriate conduct with female student employees in the LSU athletics department, where he served as head football coach from 2005-16.
Miles signed a letter of reprimand, which directed him to cease texting all student employees and using some employees for jobs outside work.
One complaint about Miles’ behavior came from a female student staffer who also babysat for him, while another female student alleges that Miles kissed her twice and asked her to meet him at a hotel or his condo.
According to a separate report by Husch Blackwell released by LSU last week, former Tigers Athletic Director Joe Alleva believed Miles should have been fired after the investigation in 2013.
Long said he met with the Jayhawks football team Monday night and called the parting “in the best interest of the University of Kansas.”
He downplayed the possibility his job also could be at risk after hiring Miles in November 2018.
Miles signed a five-year contract at the time worth $2.775 million annually. He also received a $225,000 retention bonus in November.
According to terms of a settlement agreement, Miles will be paid more than $1.9 million as part of the separation agreement. He will receive his normal salary for March 2021.
Beginning in April, Miles and Just Ball, a company for which Miles serves as CEO, will receive $201,187.50 per month through June.
The payment from Kansas, which Long said will come from athletic department coffers, bumps up to $231,250 from July through December 2021.
Long said Kansas ran multiple background checks on Miles, who told him there was nothing in his background that could embarrass the university.
Long also said discussions with colleagues at LSU didn’t reveal the existence of the 2013 investigation by the Taylor Porter Law Firm.
Long said KU only became aware of the “secret settlement of a sexual harassment allegation” after media reports about the lawsuit were published.
KU has insisted all along that it did not know about the investigation.
His attorney claimed that “Kansas had been provided with significant information supporting Taylor Porter’s conclusions” in a statement Saturday.
Long has not named an interim head coach, though Mike DeBord, KU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, is in charge for the time being, he confirmed.
Long promised a national search for Miles’ replacement.