And to think, this all could have been avoided for a measly $3 million.
In what is shaping up to be one of the all-time backfires in recent college administrative history, Kansas AD Jeff Long's attempt to fire ex-KU head coach David Beaty for cause -- and thus denying him his contractually-obligated $3 million buyout -- has led to an ongoing lawsuit that has aired the dirty laundry of his employer and him personally.
Among the highlights of the deposition, detailed by the Kansas City Star:
-- Kansas decided as early as August 2018 that Beaty would be fired following that upcoming season and Les Miles would be his replacement. (Long was hired at Kansas on July 5, 2018.)
-- In fact, athletics department administrators began rooting against the football team in order to build a case against Beaty, according to deposition provided by Jayhawks fundraiser Matt Baty, and Kansas began talks around filming a docu-series following the Miles-led KU football program before Beaty was fired. (Beaty was fired Nov. 4, 2018 but finished out KU's 3-9 season. Les Miles was hired Nov. 18, five days before the season finale.)
-- On the stand, Long struggled to recall the names of candidates beyond Miles.
Long had previously attempted to hire Miles when the coach was at LSU and Long at Arkansas.
-- Long tasked his deputies with digging up evidence of a possible extramarital affair committed by Beaty, but Baty testified to inappropriate remarks in a sexual nature uttered by Long himself.
From the Star: Baty also testified that he heard Long make inappropriate and inflammatory sexual remarks about an elderly female donor to whom Long was prepared to make “a generous ask” financially. Baty also testified that Long made a comment about wanting a hotel room adjacent to where a female school staffer was staying, which Baty in context understood to be a sexual remark.
“As a general rule, the university does not comment on pending legal matters. However, in this instance, we feel compelled to note that Mr. Baty’s deposition is full of outright fabrications, lies and false attributions,” said Dan Beckler, KU associate athletic director for public relations. “As we have said all along, we are confident this matter will be appropriately resolved in court.”
-- Long's angle for denying Beaty's buyout was that he oversaw a violation of NCAA rules by permitting a non-countable coach to commit coaching duties, but Beaty's attorneys discovered evidence that Long was unconcerned when Miles's staff exhibited the same behavior. Again from the Star:
The first was from KU’s third game against Boston College, which showed then-offensive analyst Josh Eargle flipping through Miles’ play sheet and pointing to something on it. An analyst, by NCAA rules, cannot “make or assist in making tactical decisions related to the sport during on-court or on-field practice or competition.”
The Star later found five such instances of analysts on Miles' staff allegedly executing impermissible coaching duties.
Long testified that he took action when he became aware non-countable coaches were committing potential NCAA violations.
Whether Les Miles' staff broke NCAA rules is almost beside the point, because if Long had just paid the relative-chump-change sum of $3 million, Beaty never would have brought a lawsuit and none of this would have come to light.
After going 3-9 in Beaty's final season of 2018, Kansas again went 3-9 and finished in last place in the Big 12 under Miles in 2019.