This is the second in a two-post series delving into the details of Les Miles's story. Check out the first part here.
In early March 2021, KU placed its head coach, Les Miles, on administrative leave.
Three days later, news surfaced that Miles ‘was out' and that KU had begun a search for his successor. While the specific reasons were not made clear, a little digging shows that just prior to this decision, two investigative teams published damning reports detailing Les Miles's problematic actions at a previous coaching job at Louisiana State University. Despite evidence that the LSU administration had an idea of Miles's behavior, Miles continued to enjoy employment at LSU, where he was not fired until 2016 (for reasons relating to the performance of his athletic teams).
Two years later, Miles began work at KU. It seems that Jeff Long, the athletic director at KU, was an old friend of Miles and that the university did not use a search firm while hiring Miles - a salient fact, in light of the new information.
Hiring, Reporting, and Firing Faux Pas:
When Universities Have Murky Motivations for Handling Misconduct
Representatives from KU state that the athletic department did not know about Miles's behavior at LSU. However, the contract that Miles signed at KU did give the university a way to terminate him. There's a clause in that contract that allows KU to end his employment due to ‘any conduct…which brings KU into public disrepute, embarrassment, contempt, or ridicule.'
The Taylor Porter and Blackwell reports certainly paint an unflattering portrait of all involved. The Taylor Porter report concludes with allegations that Miles attempted to kiss at least one woman without consent while he was an LSU coach. Moreover, the investigators found that Miles would make inappropriate suggestions regarding hotel rooms and his condo as ‘meeting places' for liaisons between himself and female students. At the very least, the investigators noted, “It appears that he has shown poor judgment.”
For any number of reasons, Miles has now left KU. However, now many years-old issues regarding misconduct reporting and management at both universities are currently coming to light. Apparently, the administration at LSU received many reports of misconduct from traumatized students that seemingly went nowhere, despite policies in place.
One cynical theory posits that schools could have specific incentives at work (or motivations at play) when it comes to managing misconduct allegations. Is it possible that schools squelch unhelpful allegations to preserve their own reputations or athletic interests, or exaggerate other situations in order to point public interest in a less damning direction?
There are those who allege that the scandal surrounding Les Miles shows that college athletics programs tend to prioritize their own interests over anything else—perhaps going to great lengths to protect people who were ‘good for' the athletic program, and perhaps turning a blind eye to concerns about reporting because they were inconvenient.
Joseph D. Lento is an Experienced Sexual Misconduct Defense Attorney. Call Today for the Help You Need
Stories like Miles's make it crystal clear that the reporting and disciplinary systems at school aren't perfect. If you're caught up in a dramatic situation at your academic institution, there's little to protect your school from steamrolling over your rights so your school can protect its own name.
Fortunately, you can trust Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm to help you protect your rights. Call us at 888-535-3686 today.