Kansas, Les Miles part ways after harassment allegations at LSU surface

Sam Cooper
·3-min read

The Les Miles era of Kansas football has come to an end.

Miles, the longtime college head coach who won a national championship at LSU but amassed just a 3-18 record over two seasons at Kansas, has parted ways with the university. Kansas announced the news on Monday night, saying it was a mutual decision between the two parties. The school said the terms of its separation from Miles "will be released in the coming days."

The news comes just days after Miles was placed on administrative leave by Kansas as sexual harassment allegations from his time at LSU surfaced.

“I am extremely disappointed for our university, fans and everyone involved with our football program. There is a lot of young talent on this football team, and I have no doubt we will identify the right individual to lead this program," Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said. "We will begin the search for a new head coach immediately with an outside firm to assist in this process. We need to win football games, and that is exactly what we’re going to do.”

Following an investigative reporting series from USA Today, LSU hired a law firm to investigate the way the university and its athletic department mishandled accusations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse. Uncovered in that investigation was multiple allegations against Miles by female LSU students. The alleged conduct from Miles caused then-LSU athletic director Joe Alleva to recommend the school fire Miles with cause

Among other incidents, a female student alleged that Miles kissed her twice and told her she was attractive. Though Miles denied the accusation, the 2013 investigative report said “it appears that [Miles] has shown poor judgment in placing himself in a situation in which the student employee might be uncomfortable.”

In the report released by law firm Husch Blackwell on Friday, one athletic department employee said the student was “completely traumatized” by the alleged incident with Miles. Another employee used the words “emotional” and “traumatic” when describing her interaction with the student following the alleged incident.

Because of this and other allegations of inappropriate behavior with female students, Miles was banned from being alone with or communicating with female students following the conclusion of the 2013 investigation.

Despite Alleva’s recommendation, Miles kept his job at LSU until 2016, when he was fired after a 2-2 start. A few years later, Miles was brought to Kansas by Long. Now he is out of a job.

“This is certainly a difficult day for me and for my family. I love this university and the young men in our football program. I have truly enjoyed being the head coach at KU and know that it is in a better place now than when I arrived," Miles said in a statement. "To our student-athletes, I want you to remember that you came to play for KU and earn a degree here. So, I implore you to stay and build on what we started and do all of the things we talked about doing together. There is a bright future for all of you and for KU Football.”

Kansas head coach Les Miles watches warm ups before an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
Kansas head coach Les Miles watches warm ups before an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Where does Kansas football go from here?

With spring football on the horizon, Kansas is in a tricky spot. The Jayhawks have been the perennial last-place finisher in the Big 12 for more than a decade and are now without a head coach during the month of March.

Kansas said Monday that it will begin a national search for a new head coach "immediately." During the search, Mike DeBord will serve as the team's acting head coach "until an interim head coach is determined."

Who would want the Kansas job? Could KU roll with an interim in 2021? And will Long even be around to be the one making the decisions? Those are questions Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel addressed in a column last week.

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