KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Les Miles was reprimanded during his tenure as head football coach at Louisiana State University for alleged inappropriate conduct toward female student employees within the athletics department, according to documents obtained by 41 Action News.
Miles, who now serves as head coach at the University of Kansas, denied the students’ allegations, but he agreed to cease all personal contact with student employees and undergo employment counseling as part of an agreement signed in September 2013 based on recommendations from an independent investigation.
USA Today first reported the existence of the investigation and LSU's discipline of Miles, who one female student alleged kissed her and tried to coerce her into meeting him at a hotel or his condo.
At least two female student employees told independent investigators with the Taylor Porter Law Firm about encounters with Miles and behavior that made them uncomfortable during a 2013 investigation.
A woman identified as “Student 1,” who also worked as a babysitter for Miles’ family, told investigators about an uncomfortable phone call, other interactions, and an occasion when she was asked to babysit but Miles stayed home and instead asked her to join him and the children in going to a movie.
The student also stayed at Miles’ condo when there was an issue with her apartment.
After the student reported the uncomfortable incidents, former LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva forbade Miles from “one-on-one meetings or interactions with student employees.”
Miles acknowledged such a conversation, but denied that Alleva also told him not to text or call student employees during the meeting.
Subsequently, a second unidentified female student employee filed a complaint in February 2013, alleging that she quit her job with the LSU athletics department over “recent interactions ... that made her uncomfortable,” according to Taylor Porter memo.
It was the second student's complaint that launched the investigation.
LSU provided a heavily redacted copy of the memo to 41 Action News on Thursday evening. The school said the redactions, including all references to Miles' name, were to protect the students' privacy.
The school provided a copy of the letter of reprimand Miles signed after the investigation, which included the directives he agreed to follow with respect to student employees, with no redactions.
According to the Taylor Porter memo, the second student alleged that she was subjected to unwanted advances, including two kisses and the suggestion she meet Miles at a hotel or his condo as they “rode around talking” in his vehicle and eventually parked outside the LSU Athletics Complex.
Additional aspects of the alleged encounter were redacted from the memo.
Miles denied all of the allegations to investigators, according to Taylor Porter’s report.
After meeting the second student, Miles allegedly directed her to put his name in her phone under an alias and did the same with her name in his phone before beginning a text and Facebook messaging relationship.
Miles said he was only ever interested in helping her get started in a sports marketing career, even suggesting she could work for him in the future, but the second student said he “also complimented her on her appearance and said he was attracted to her.”
The investigation also revealed that Miles “texted at least one other former student employee using his personal cell phone,” which the LSU administration did not have.
The Taylor Porter's investigation couldn’t definitively corroborate the second student’s allegations from the night they went for a ride and wound up outside the athletics facilities.
“However, there can be little doubt that the conduct, if true, is inappropriate and unacceptable,” the memo said. “Even accepting XXX’s (Miles) version of events, it appears that he has shown poor judgment in placing himself (and the student employee) in a situation in which the student employee might be uncomfortable and/or he can be subject to such complaint.”
KU said in a statement Thursday afternoon that it is reviewing the latest report.
"Due to the ongoing litigation, KU was not provided a copy of the Taylor Porter report prior to its publication in the USA Today article," the university said in a statement to 41 Action News. "We are in the process of reviewing the 34-page document. We are also aware that LSU is issuing an additional report tomorrow, and we will wait to comment further until we have reviewed both documents."
According to the investigation, “numerous athletic department employees” told investigators that Miles “became more ‘hands on’ ... in recruiting and interviewing female student employees” among other things after LSU’s appearance in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game.
He allegedly “made it clear that he wanted these employees to have a certain ‘look’ (attractive, blond, fit),” the Taylor Porter memo said. “He also made their supervisors feel that existing student employees who did not meet this criteria should be given fewer hours or terminated.”
According to a letter of reprimand, which acknowledged that Miles did not agree with the investigation’s findings, several expectations were put in writing:
- Miles was barred from using student employees to babysit, run errands or do any other work unrelated to LSU athletics;
- Miles was directed not to “send personal texts, make personal phone calls, send personal email or use social media to communicate with any student employee of Football Operations and/or the Athletics Department;
- Miles had to divulge his personal cell number to the LSU administration;
- Miles was ordered to attend eight one-hour training sessions with an attorney specializing in employment law “to help him understand how to establish appropriate boundaries with students and student employees.”
Miles went 114-34 in 12 seasons with the Tigers from 2005-16, winning the BCS National Championship Game during the 2007 season and leading LSU to a runner-up finish during the 2011 season.
He also previously coached at Oklahoma State University from 2001-04.
During two seasons under Miles, the Jayhawks are 3-18 overall and 1-16 in Big 12, including a winless nine-game campaign in 2020.
The Kansas athletic department previously said it did not know about the investigation at LSU until reports surfaced in the media.