Les Miles is going to get fired at KU, KU better be careful how they phrase it
It didn't have to end this way.
On the surface, in public, most people seem to like or at least be intrigued by Les Miles. He had a cult of followers at LSU. He won a national title and was a fixture on ESPN.
The gregarious, seemingly fun loving coach with a self-deprecating sense of humor made himself into an almost larger than life personality with commercials and even a couple of movie appearances to go along with the TV showcases. Everyone loved Les.
But just when you think you know someone, you find out you don't.
Les Miles had a dark side. It may not have been a long-standing, life long issue, but it was an issue. Allegations of mis-treating female student assistants and rumored sexual advances all came to the surface in a pair of damaging reports some seven years after the fact.
Issues by the way that aren't and shouldn't go away because quite honestly, they aren't very good. Issues with a then 50-plus year old man taking advantage of his role and power to allegedly say and do some not-so-good things to young female assistants.
If we all knew then what we know now, I suspect Miles wouldn't be in too much a different position. He's been essentially exiled Siberia of the Football Bowl Subdivision as the head coach at Kansas.
And its now Kansas who is having to bear the weight of Miles alleged misdeeds in Baton Rouge.
In 2018, Jayhawks Athletic Director Jeff Long hired the then 65-year old after he sat out a season once LSU fired him in 2016 claiming Miles would save a program perennially ranked as one of the worst in America.
The chorus of voices for Miles's head are getting louder by the day. He's gone 3-18 as KU's football coach. In most programs, yup, that'll get you fired, at Kansas, he's kept things par for the course.
Long spent at lot of booster money hiring his longtime friend who many considered at the time of his firing at LSU, a coach who the game had long since passed by.
Which makes it interesting that some many voices are saying Kansas should fire Miles for what happened at LSU. I don't know how they can do that. How can you legally justify firing someone for something he did nearly a decade ago--at a completely different university?
Failure to adhere to acceptable behavior? Lying about previous job related issues? Is there a technical term for misbehavior at another job? Are these all or any of these things legal reasons to fire someone? Seriously, I want to know. I'm not a lawyer.
We all know if Kansas fires him for LSU related issues, Les will lawyer up and get paid. Sure, he won't get the Kansas job back, but is that such a bad thing?
If Kansas was smart--and based on how stupidly Long handled the firing of former head coach David Beaty--they aren't, KU would just need to fire Miles for being 3-18 the past two seasons. End of story.
Should Miles be punished for what he allegedly did back some 10-years ago? If they're true, maybe. But that's for the legal system to decide. Should he lose his job over it? Well, he should have lost it at LSU. Supposedly then Athletic Director Joe Alleva wanted to do it in 2013 but got overruled.
So, what kind of punishment should Les Miles face for his past transgressions? Has he done anything similar since? Is there a repeating pattern of behavior here?
I personally believe unless someone continues to show they haven't grown or learned from their mistakes then yeah, they should be penalized. But if they've walked away, made themselves better or never done anything like it ever again, then its a lot harder to say that.
People do and say stupid things all the time. Many times they do it without realizing the implications or damage their decisions cause on the lives of others. Some pay for it, some don't. And that's the gray area.
What would you do if you were deciding Les Miles's fate? How would you "punish" him? If it were you rather than him, how would you react? These are all questions we should consider before saying "Nope, he fucked up in 2011, it came out in 2021, fire him. No questions asked". It's happening. There are numerous columnists saying it has to happen. And now.
Kansas has a way out. Kansas just has to fire Les due to performance--or lack there of. It's easy. Don't make it about LSU. If they do it will backfire. Yet somehow, I'd bet the Jayhawks mess it up. It's what they do.
And as for Jeff Long. Well, he should join his fried on the unemployment line not for checking or ignoring Les's background, but for lack of performance. He was hired to fix a god awful football program and clearly that hasn't happened. And it doesn't show any signs of changing.
Kansas has a chance to reboot here, to make it right and try growing an oasis in a desert, the question is will they?
We're soon going to find out.