We have had fun with Les Miles for quite some time.
That includes me, a person who reported on him for three years as a beat writer in Baton Rouge, a person who reached out to him after his dismissal from LSU in 2016, a person who even visited him once he was hired. in Kansas in 2019..
I thought you knew Les. Perhaps most of us think we knew Les. We were drawn to his quirky and eccentric nature. The way it messed up the English syntax. The way he launched into disconcerting reflections on national holidays. The way he smiled, his silly gestures, the strange looks.
He was different. It felt fun. He ate grass. He dressed in costumes. He kissed a pig. Hell, the man once scaled a skyscraper in downtown Baton Rouge. He even dabbled in theatrical acting, something for which opened me on in a dimly lit casino ballroom about three years ago.
This week, due to excellent investigative journalismWe learned that there is more to Les Miles and LSU.
We learned that two LSU student workers filed sexual misconduct complaints against him, including an allegation that, on at least one occasion, he kissed a student after taking him alone to his condo. We also learned that he sexualized the staff of the female student worker soccer team, allegedly demanding that blondes with “big tits” be hired, according to an investigative report released this week.
The complaints against Miles were serious enough that in the summer of 2013, then-athletic director Joe Alleva recommended that he be fired for cause. But the university’s outside attorney concluded that the allegations would not constitute sexual harassment under the law. Basically, they would lose in a court battle against Miles and owe him a purchase of more than $ 15 million. For what it’s worth, Husch Blackwell, the law firm LSU hired to produce on Friday 150 page research report in sexual misconduct at school, disagreed; He believed LSU had reason to fire Miles for good reason.
Instead, Miles was barred from any personal interaction with female students and completed eight hours of sexual harassment counseling. Miles has denied each and every wrongdoing. His current employer, Kansas, where he makes nearly $ 3 million a year as a head coach, has been mostly silent.
A question arises: Will the Jayhawks keep him as their coach?
But first, let’s get back to LSU. The school itself cannot escape blame for what appears to be a years-long cover-up of its former coach’s actions and his failures in handling sexual complaints against his soccer players. At least six school officials knew Miles’s secret, including three former members of the LSU Board of Supervisors, a powerful and politicized governing body of the university. They didn’t tell anyone, not even their own colleagues on the board.
Contacted on Friday, the former board members were engrossed in the news.
How did they not tell us? How did this happen?
One of the three former board members who knew of Miles’s reported transgressions, Stanley Jacobs, received a phone call Friday from Illustrated Sports. “I have nothing to say, but thanks for calling,” he said before ending the conversation. Alleva did not respond to a message.
Husch Blackwell’s extensive report went beyond Miles, of course, although he is mentioned 51 times. The report describes an ugly scene within the university itself, the athletic department, and the soccer program in regards to the Title IX process. One sexual assault survivor described the protocols as designed to put survivors in a position to surrender because they were worn down by their obstacles.
The Title IX office was understaffed and did not participate adequately in athlete accounts. Athletic administrators, such as Rep. AD Verge Ausberry and Assistant AD Miriam Segar, made poor decisions, at times at the direction of Alleva, who was expelled in 2019 (on Friday, they were slapped with unpaid suspensions of 30 days and 21 days, respectively. ). ).
The report details a frayed relationship between management and soccer staff, namely Sharon Lewis, a longtime soccer operations staff member who, at one point, asked the Title IX office to investigate her own. bosses, Ausberry and Segar. He told investigators that he encountered “great resistance from Segar and Ausberry” over the Title IX incidents. The report says the problems got so bad that Lewis had a “mental breakdown.”
The investigation uncovered a soccer show that, with Miles, normalized the cover-up of sexual assault and harassment accounts against its members. In fact, a former staff member gave investigators a jarring and damning description of the place, that you can read in its entirety here.
“It puzzles me, however, that for so long, this went on and that became normal, right?” said the staff member. “And you just don’t talk about it and you don’t say anything, you just say, ‘because we are protecting LSU, we are protecting our brand, we are protecting our head coach, we are protecting this, we love LSU, so we will be loyal to LSU, so we will do what we can to help him and try to fix it. “
Soccer staff members aren’t the only culprits here. University administrators are not the only culprits here. The head coach is not the only culprit here.
I am also to blame here. I was as close to the LSU soccer program as any member of the media for at least four years in Baton Rouge, from 2014 to 2017. I thought I was doing enough research. I submitted public records requests almost monthly back then. I gave him negative news quite regularly. LSU administrators insulted me like a dog more than once, banned one-on-one interviews for several months, and received multiple threats to revoke my credentials.
And still, I feel ashamed here.
The sentiment inside the LSU soccer building, the former staff member told investigators, was, “Well, I can keep doing that because no one gets in trouble around here. Even the head coach didn’t get in trouble for doing it. “
That brings us back to Les. He will no longer be seen in our eyes as the peculiar character we gravitate towards. His reputation is forever tarnished. And while he denies the allegations, he obviously dominated a dysfunctional show with deep problems.
His future is unclear. Sources in Lawrence, Kansas, say he took the day off Friday and stayed away from the office.
Either way, one thing’s for sure – we’ve been having fun with Les Miles for quite some time.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.