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Tuesday’s college roundup: Les Miles out at Kansas for behavior with women while at LSU | #schoolshooting


LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said he pointedly asked his longtime friend, Les Miles, during the hiring process to be next football coach of the Jayhawks whether there was anything in his background that could potentially embarrass the university.

Miles, according to Long, replied, “No.”

Three years later, that answer has not only contributed to the sudden downfall of a popular coach who took LSU to two national title games and a championship, but also has thrown into disarray a Kansas program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2008 amid a succession of failed coaches, dwindling fan support and overall apathy.

The school and Miles agreed to a settlement late Monday, just days after he was placed on administrative leave amid sexual misconduct allegations from his tenure with the Tigers. Miles had about $8 million remaining on his contract through 2023, and Long said Tuesday that the settlement will amount to paying him through the rest of this year.

“I’m beyond disappointed that the University of Kansas is in this position,” said Long, who has known Miles since their days together at Michigan in the late 1980s and early ’90s, “but it is absolutely the right decision for this university.”

Long said a series of background checks took place before the Jayhawks hired Miles in 2018, and that nobody within the LSU athletic department raised any red flags.

When Kansas officials learned of a legal dispute that was settled out of court, Long said the school “requested copies of any and all reported related to Miles when he was at LSU.”

“We were given a variety of reasons from Miles’ legal counsel why that would not be provided to us,” Long said.

Details surrounding the settlement were not revealed until a lawsuit brought by newspapers forced LSU to make public late last week a report compiled by the law firm Taylor Porter. It describes how two female students within the football program had accused Miles in 2013 of inappropriate behavior but it ultimately found no violations of any law.

One day after the Taylor Porter report became public, a separate report by the law firm Husch Blackwell completed last fall was released. The 148-page review looked at the LSU’s handling of sexual misconduct complaints campus-wide, and at one point described how Miles “tried to sexualize the staff of student workers in the football program by, for instance, allegedly demanding that he wanted blondes with big breasts, and `pretty girls.”‘

The report also revealed then-Tigers athletic director Joe Alleva recommended firing the coach in 2013 to school officials.

Asked whether Miles lied to him, Long replied: “That’s debatable whether that was a lie.”

“I can’t really answer why Coach Miles responded the way he did,” Long said. “I think much is played about our friendship; it’s a friendship that was certainly not the reason why we were hiring him to be the head coach. He was an established head coach, he was an incredible recruiter – those are the reasons we hired Les Miles at the time.”

An attorney representing Miles argued Saturday, shortly after he was placed on administrative leave, that Kansas had “performed thorough due diligence” before his hiring and had “significant information” about the LSU reports.

“To fail to recognize that a person’s career should not be compromised by unsubstantiated allegations hardly is consistent with the example an institution of higher learning should champion,” Peter Ginsberg said.

The 67-year-old Miles won three games his first season and went winless last season, only the third time that’s happened in school history. And while recruiting, facilities and infrastructure improved under his watch, the school is again facing down an embarrassing situation following the failed tenures of Turner Gill, Charlie Weis and David Beaty.

Mike DeBord has been appointed the acting head coach with spring football about to start, and Long said he’s been visiting with assistant coaches but has yet to decide on an interim coach. Whomever is chosen will handle the program while Long works with a search firm to identify potential head coaches at a difficult time in the calendar with most coaches are well into planning for next season.

There is also debate whether Long should be leading the search. His missteps in hiring Miles came after an underwhelming hiring of Dave Wannstedt at Pittsburgh and his controversial hiring and firing of Bobby Petrino at Arkansas.

“Well, I’m hoping as soon as I can to have those open and candid discussions for what we’re trying to do,” said Long, adding that the settlement with Long will be paid through athletic department revenues and donors to the Williams Fund.

“I’m happy to have those conversations with (donors). We need their support more than ever,” Long added. “This is not a change we anticipate. But despite the record during the COVID season, we see progress here.”

OHIO STATE: Ohio State has halted football team workouts for a week because of an increase in positive COVID-19 tests within the program.

The school said Tuesday that team activities would pause and administrative offices in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center would close “out of an abundance of caution and with the health, safety and well-being of the student-athletes, coaches and football and facility support staff as the highest priority.”

The Buckeyes are scheduled to open spring practice on March 19.

“We have been successful in safely hosting nearly 100 athletic events on campus this year with limited disruptions, but this pandemic is not over,” Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said. “We will continue to stress the safety measures of wearing masks, consistent and thorough hand washing and physical distancing, and we will remain vigilant in those areas.”

MEN’S BASKETBALL

BIG TEN AWARDS: Iowa’s Luka Garza is The Associated Press player of the year in the Big Ten Conference for the second year in a row and Michigan’s Juwan Howard is coach of the year.

Garza won a split vote with Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu after being a unanimous pick in 2020. Garza and Dosunmu were unanimous choices for spots on the AP’s All-Big Ten team, also announced Tuesday, in voting by 15 journalists who cover the conference.

Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson was named newcomer of the year in a split vote with teammate Mike Smith.

Joining Garza and Dosunmu on the all-conference first team are Minnesota’s Marcus Carr, Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis and Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell. The second team is made up of Michigan’s Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers, Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp and Purdue’s Trevion Williams.

Garza, a 6-foot-11, 265-pound center from Washington, D.C., is the only men’s basketball player in Big Ten history with 2,000 points, 850 rebounds, 125 blocked shots and 100 3-pointers. Garza averages a conference-best 23.8 points per game and has 12 double-doubles in 27 games. He broke Roy Marble’s 32-year-old career scoring record last month, and Iowa retired his No. 55 after its win over Wisconsin on Sunday.

Garza received 11 votes for player of the year while Dosunmu got four.

BIG 12 AWARDS: Baylor guard Jared Butler is The Associated Press Big 12 player of the year after helping the Bears win their first conference title, averaging 17.1 points while leading the league in 3-point shooting and steals.

Butler finished third in the Big 12 in scoring during the regular season, behind two players who joined the 6-foot-3 junior as first-team AP All-Big 12 picks: Oklahoma State freshman Cade Cunningham (19.7 ppg) and Oklahoma senior Austin Reaves (17.5 ppg).

The only unanimous picks on the AP team announced Tuesday were Butler and Cunningham, the 6-8 freshman who was named Big 12 newcomer of the year.

Baylor’s Scott Drew is the top coach for the second season in a row.

West Virginia junior forward Derek Culver and Texas Tech junior guard Mac McClung complete the five-player first team. The 6-10 Culver leads the league with 9.8 rebounds a game while averaging 14.8 points. McClung, a transfer from Georgetown, has 16.1 points per game in his first Big 12 season.

Butler, with 2.7 made 3-pointers a game while shooting 44.4% from long range, got 11 of 16 votes for player of the year from a panel of journalists who regularly cover the Big 12. Butler has 2.1 steals a game and is second in the league at 4.95 assists.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

(18) GONZAGA 43, BYU 42: Jill Townsend scored on an 15-foot fadeaway jumper as time expired and Gonzaga (23-3) rallied past second-seeded BYU in the West Coast Conference championship at Las Vegas to advance to the NCAA tournament.

Kaylynne Truong inbounded the ball with 0.6 seconds to play, finding Townsend on the left side of the lane. Townsend, one of three starters who did not start because of illness, came off a Jenn Wirth screen and just got the shot off over 6-foot-7 Sara Hamson as time expired.

It was the only points of the game for Townsend.

Freshman Yvonne Ejim, playing a season-high 21 minutes, led the Bulldogs with 13 points, nine in the fourth quarter, and nine rebounds – both season highs.

(20) SOUTH FLORIDA 48, WICHITA STATE 44: Sydni Harvey scored 14 points and South Florida (16-3), the top seed in the American Athletic Conference tournament, avoided a major upset by beating ninth-seeded Wichita State (5-14) in the quarterfinals at Fort Worth, Texas.

Elena Tsineke added 12 points for the Bulls, who overcame 24.6% shooting (15 of 61) and 16 turnovers. They will play fourth-seeded Temple in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Bethy Mununga, who averages 11.2 points, was limited to three points on three shots, but grabbed 15 rebounds, seven on the offensive end where the Bulls had an 18-9 advantage for a 14-5 difference in second-chance points.

Trajata Colbert scored 13 points for the Shockers.

BASEBALL

BOSTON COLLEGE 10, MAINE 5: The Eagles (8-2) hit three home runs in the seventh and eighth innings to pull away and defeat the Black Bears (3-2) in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

Cody Morissette and Cameron Leary each hit two homers and Luke Gold one. Charlie Coon got the win in relief for Boston College, going three innings with one earned run and four strikeouts.

Quinn McDaniel legged out an inside-the-park home run for Maine in the first inning.

Joe Bramanti, Colby Emmertz, Connor Goodman and Jeff Mejia each knocked in a run. Starting pitcher Peter Kemble lasted three innings, giving up three earned runs.

MEN’S HOCKEY

SOUTHERN MAINE 2, BECKER 1:  Brendan Dowler hammered home the winner on a nifty pass from Tyler Gardiner 59 seconds into overtime as the Huskies (1-2) outlasted the Hawks (1-4) at Gorham.

After surrendering an early goal, Southern Maine pulled even on Curtis Judd’s goal with three minutes to play in the second period.


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