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LSU athletic director wanted to fire Les Miles in 2013 after harassment allegations

Nick Bromberg
·7-min read

Former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva wanted the school to fire Les Miles three years earlier than it ultimately did.

Alleva's desire to fire Miles in 2013 after sexual harassment accusations against the coach was revealed on Friday in a law firm's report about the school's handling of sexual misconduct allegations. The report was released Friday after the existence of an investigation into Miles' behavior toward female students became public over the last two weeks.

The Husch Blackwell report details an email from Alleva in the summer of 2013 recommending that the school terminate Miles with cause. Firing Miles with cause would have allowed LSU to not pay the coach's buyout.

"Bob and King, thanks for call today ... one more time I want us to think about which scenario is worse for LSU. Explaining why we let him go or explaining why we let him stay. Proactive or reactive ... I always believe that people are innocent until proven guilty and in this case I believe he is guilty of insubordination, inappropriate behavior, putting the university, athletic dept and football program at great risk. I think we have cause. I specifically told him not to text, call or be alone with any student workers and he obviously didn't listen. I know there are many possible outcomes and much risk either way, but I believe it is in the best interest in the long run to make a break. The court of public opinion would favor us. The court room? On July 2nd we will know more but the facts will remain the same ... thanks."

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According to Sports Illustrated, LSU didn't pursue firing Miles for cause because it ultimately realized that it'd have to pay him a significant buyout after Miles contested the terms of the firing.

Miles is currently the coach at Kansas. He was hired at KU ahead of the 2019 season after he was fired at LSU following a 2-2 start in 2016. KU athletic director Jeff Long hired Miles after the two worked together at Michigan long before Miles became LSU's head coach.

Alleva was LSU's athletic director from 1998-2019. You can read the full report here.

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 24:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers looks on during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Les Miles was at LSU from 2005-16. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Miles allegedly kissed female student staffer

A 2013 investigation into accusations against Miles investigated an allegation by a female student that Miles kissed her twice and told her she was attractive.

That redacted report had been sealed but became public on Thursday. Miles denied the accusation to investigators and while the firm that made the report ultimately said it couldn't prove that Miles had kissed the student it didn't clear him either.

“Even accepting [Miles’] version of events, it appears that he has shown poor judgment in placing himself (and the student employee) in a situation in which the student employee might be uncomfortable and/or he can be subject to such complaint," the 2013 report said.

The Husch Blackwell report said it also wasn't in a position to make a judgment on the allegations against Miles. It did, however, rebuke LSU's handling of the accusations against him.

“Miles has denied all allegations of misconduct and we are not in a position to offer an opinion on whether the allegations against him are true or not. Instead, the issue is whether the University responded to this report against a powerful member of the University and Athletics Department in a manner consistent with then-existing legal guidance, well-recognized best practices and institutional policy. The answer is 'no.'"

Two athletic department employees used variations of the word "traumatic" to describe how the student Miles allegedly kissed felt about their alleged encounter. From the Husch Blackwell report:

According to [Sharon] Lewis, Student 1 requested her assistance in confronting Miles regarding the allegations. Another longtime football operations employee was present for the meeting and recalled, from her perspective, that Student 1 was ‘completely traumatized’ by the alleged incident. ‘This child had a dead stare … she just kept saying over and over ‘You know what you did to me.’’ Sharon Lewis echoed this, describing the interaction between Student 1 as ‘emotional’ and ‘traumatic.’

Miles was also accused of inappropriate behavior with other female students. Miles was barred from being alone with female students after the 2013 investigation and was not allowed to communicate with female students.

Harassment allegation against former RB Derrius Guice

The report also details a sexual harassment allegation against former LSU running back Derrius Guice. 

Guice allegedly harassed a 70-year-old female security guard at the Superdome and made references towards her about having sex with older women. The woman contacted LSU but the report said that Guice was never taken through the LSU disciplinary process for the allegation. 

The report includes the account of the woman from the Student Advocacy and Accountability office and said it was unable to identify the coach in the statement. 

“State that she was working security at the Superdome on December 9th for the high school football games. At 3:30 p.m. she was sitting on a chair at her post when Derrius Guice and several other men approached her. He began saying that he ‘likes older women’ and asked if she would have sex with him. She was shocked and told him that was not funny. He continued to gesture at his private area and grab himself in front of her saying that ‘older women are my thing’ and that they could just ‘go off and do it’ somewhere. She told him that she is a grandmother and 70 years old and that he shouldn’t talk to people that way. The other men began to laugh. She tried to tell him how disgusting it was that he would treat her that way but he kept talking about sex as he got into an elevator and left.

She reported to her supervisor and that person called the coach at LSU. He said that Derrius was probably just kidding around and that Derrius came from a broken home. She said that she did not care and that he should be punished for his behavior. She said that he did it with such ease that she felt like he had done this before. The coach asked what she wanted ‘an apology?’ She told him that she wanted Derrius to sit out from a game — the bowl game. He dismissed her and no one has returned her calls or done anything.”

Guice was arrested on Aug. 7 on a felony charge of strangulation, three charges of assault and battery, a charge of property destruction after he was accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend until she became unconscious in March of 2020. He was released by the Washington Football Team after his arrest.

Shortly after his arrest, two women came forward to say that Guice raped them while at LSU. Their accounts are also included in the report.

Athletic department staffers suspended

LSU president Tom Galligan said Friday at a news conference about the report that deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry and associate athletic director Miriam Segar had been suspended without pay for their roles in failing to appropriately handle accusations against athletes.

In an open letter, current LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said "you have my unwavering commitment that our department must, and we will, do better" regarding accusations of sexual misconduct and domestic assault.

The school is also implementing a seven-part action plan as a result of the report.

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