Nearly three years after Kansas fired him, David Beaty is now free to return to coaching.
Beaty was informed on Nov. 4, 2018 that he would not return at Kansas, but remained with the team through the end of that season. Weeks later, KU informed him it would not be paying his contractually-obliged buyout, because the school had referred him to the NCAA for alleged rules violations.
What followed were two-plus years of Scooby Doo antics by ousted KU athletics director Jeff Long, who instructed staff to turn up skeletons in Beaty's closet.
Now, the saga has met its end.
Long is no longer employed by Kansas, fired for failing to properly vet Beaty's replacement, Les Miles, after sexual misconduct allegations turned up against Miles from his LSU tenure. Kansas football is as bad as ever, left behind a 13-game losing streak by Miles. Beaty got his money, a $2.55 million settlement (his contract called for a $3 million buyout) reached over the summer, and now he has his name back.
"After nearly three years of this debacle, there has been no finding by anyone that David has ever violated any NCAA rule, and as we sit here today we now have a confirmation that there's not even an allegation that David has ever violated an NCAA rule. This is vindication for David Beaty, for Raynee Beaty, for the entire Beaty family," attorney Michael Lyons said at a press conference from his firm's Dallas office on Thursday.
Thursday's event was not nearly as serious as a husband and father acquitted of a capital murder charge -- Beaty was sure to note many people have it far worse than spending two-plus years waiting out a multi-million dollar settlement check -- but it had the unmistakable feeling of a husband and father acquitted of a capital murder charge.
"David really put his faith in the process that what would ultimately come back was the truth and this result speaks to that," Lyons said. "They have found the truth."
"Today's just a great day for my family and I. When you get your good name back, you only get one of those," Beaty said. "I'm very fortunate, because a lot of times it doesn't happen."
Beaty spent much of his speaking on Thursday thanking his family and his attorneys for their enduring faith and their endless hard work, thanking his friends for sticking by him, and sharing the occasional shoulder squeeze with his attorney.
"The big thing for me was, I believed in right," Beaty said. "I just believed that the right thing is the right thing and eventually the truth would come out. Thankfully, thanks to the letter that we have today, the truth is here and I'm just grateful for that."
"David is free from this saga and once again free to work in the coaching ranks, which he loves and is so good at," Lyons said, who, like a good attorney, added that Beaty was never paid by the Long regime for staying on for those three final games in 2018.
The Kansas saga could have a chilling effect on what was quickly becoming a growing trend of athletics departments signing coaches to multi-million dollar contracts, then getting out from under what is now commonly an 8-figure buyout by retroactively claiming a for-cause firing. "The Kansas administration has the opportunity to look at this as a learning tool about whether this is the right type of path for a proud institution would want to take. Here's the opportunity to change direction in the future."
The last two seasons on the metaphorical sideline and away from the actual sideline were not a total wash for Beaty. He spent time with his recently-deceased mother. He reconnected with his two daughters. He consulted for a number of programs. And he did some recruiting, which will be his quickest ticket back to coaching.
"I've been able to be around a bunch of high schools with a bunch of great players, so I feel like I prepared myself to stay up with the time with regards to where the best players are located, and I think that's going to serve me well as I move forward."