Kansas AD Jeff Long making a speech in Oct. 2020. Oct 3, 2020; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks athletic director Jeff Long speaks at a statue unveiling at halftime against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Following the Kansas Jayhawks’ decision to part ways with football head coach Les Miles Monday, they’ve now moved on from athletic director Jeff Long as well. The school’s official athletics account tweeted Monday that they’d  “mutually agreed to part ways” with Miles. On Tuesday, Long held a conference call with media where he said that he’d employ a search firm to find Kansas’ next head coach, but also said he was “confident I can conduct the search”; that call saw some curious comments from Long (seen above during the Oct. 2020 unveiling of statues of Gale Sayers and John Hadl), though, including him stating that it was “debatable” whether Miles had lied about having anything that could embarrass Kansas in his background (as part of his justification for paying Miles a settlement rather than firing him for cause), and him getting defensive about Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger’s question about the poor performances of his Arkansas hires. And on Wednesday, Kansas moved on from Long, as first reported by Stadium’s Brett McMurphy:

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd got some comments from Long:

“I’m pretty upset, but I know how the world works. I’m just sick because I tried to do everything the right way with high ethics and morals and doing the right thing for young people. That’s the only thing that disappoints me,” Long said.

It’s certainly interesting to see Long citing “high ethics and morals” and “doing the right thing for young people” here. His 2018 hire of Miles and decision this week to part ways with Miles with a settlement rather than for cause don’t necessarily support that.

Kansas’ decision to move on from Miles came after they placed him on administrative leave Friday in the wake of two reports released by LSU on that university’s “serious institutional failure” in dealing with sexual harassment and sexual assault issues. One of those reports was from 2013, and it featured allegations of then-LSU HC Miles texting female students, taking them to his condo alone, making them feel uncomfortable, and on at least one occasion, kissing a female student in his car and suggesting they go to a hotel. That led to then-LSU AD Joe Alleva recommending the school fire Miles for cause in June 2013.

That did not happen, though, and Miles was eventually let go in 2016 after a 2-2 start to that season. He then went through media gigs at ESPN, Fox, and The Players’ Tribune as well as acting roles (including in films The Last Whistle and The Challenger Disaster and commercials for Dr. Pepper and Dos Equis), before landing the Kansas job in 2018. And sure, it’s quite possible that Long had no idea of the past sexual harassment accusations against Miles when he hired him; it seems likely that Miles’ employers in between his time at LSU and Kansas didn’t know.

But hiring someone as a head coach usually comes with a more thorough background and reference check then bringing them in as a guest pundit or as an actor in a smaller role. And with Long conducting the Miles coaching search himself rather than using a firm, there’s no one to pass blame to for less-than-thorough examinations of Miles’ past. And Long’s comment that it’s “debatable” whether Miles lied raises questions about if he did find out something on this, and decided to push on with the hire anyways:

Long’s exchange with Kansas City Star columnist Sam Mellinger Tuesday over the past performance of his football hires at Arkansas (Bobby Petrino, who posted a 34–17 overall record, but one that ended with an incredible motorcycle scandal involving an employee he was having an affair with, and Bret Bielema, who posted a 29-34 overall record) also wasn’t a great look:

At any rate, Kansas has now moved on from both a football coach and an athletic director in the span of a few days. And they’re not exactly in great overall shape:

We’ll see where the Jayhawks go next at AD and coach.

[CBS Sports]



About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.