Les Miles LSU scandal: Why was football coach not banned? Shocking report says he tried to kiss student twice
Miles allegedly approved 'Orange Pride', a hostess program, whose members occasionally had sex with potential recruits
An internal investigative report released by LSU on Thursday, March 4, stated, that at the height of his fame as Louisiana State University’s (LSU) head football coach in 2013, Les Miles was accused of texting female students on a burner phone, driving them alone to his condo, making them feel uncomfortable and, on at least one occasion, kissing a student twice while in his car and suggesting they go to a hotel after telling her he could help her career. The student had told investigators that Miles, who served as LSU’s head football coach from 2005 to 2016, reportedly suggested prior to kissing her, “that they go to a hotel together and mentioned his condo as another meeting place. He also complimented her on her appearance and said he was attracted to her.”
The investigation, led by law firm Taylor Porter on behalf of LSU in 2013, did not find that Miles had sexual relationships with any of the women, but found his behavior inappropriate. Miles had denied kissing the girl, according to the report and said that he did nothing wrong and was simply mentoring young women at the university.
What are the allegations against Les Miles?
The report said the coach, who was directly involved with hiring student employees, was accused by athletic department staff of demanding that the female student workers have a certain 'look': attractive, blonde and fit. Existing student employees who did not meet this criteria should be given fewer hours or fired, it details.
The allegations against Miles – now head coach at the University of Kansas – were first made public after USA Today sued for the records in January 2021. LSU had initially refused to release the records and Miles intervened in USA Today's lawsuit, on grounds that his reputation would be ruined irreparbly if the report was made public. He dropped his bid to keep the records sealed on his lawyer, Peter Ginsberg's suggestion, who said the release was necessary to defend himself against negative media attention.
Allegations of academic fraud
In September 2013, Sports Illustrated senior writer George Dohrmann and executive editor BJ Schecter met with OSU officials, informing them of allegations from multiple sources after 60 former players were interviewed. Les Miles came out with a black eye along with then assistant coach Joe DeForest, who denied the charges.
The academic fraud contains a variety of allegations, from players not going to class, to professors changing grades, to tutors doing work for players. Miles was accused of dismissing academic standards to the point of players playing who were otherwise academically ineligible, including having their school work done by so-called tutors and other school personnel. The magazine also noted that staff tolerated widespread drug abuse among the players by using a sham drug counseling program and selective drug enforcement, with the better players getting a pass. The allegations involved direct payments and no-show or sham jobs involving boosters.
Orange Pride allegations
DeForest had even influenced the Orange Pride hostess program, whose members occasionally had sex with potential recruits. The practice that does not occur at the three other Big 12 schools that confirmed to SI they had hostess programs. "I am not aware of this ever happening and am quite sure that no staff member was aware of recruits sleeping with this group of students or any other students," Miles had said to Sports Illustrated. However, the report stated that Oklahoma State football personnel played a central role in vetting Orange Pride candidates, with Miles, who coached the team from 2001 to '04. No evidence linked Miles to any wrongdoing during his time as head coach at OSU and he denied the allegations.
More than a dozen former players said, in the report, that Orange Pride not only grew under Miles but that its culture also changed. There was a small group within a group that could be counted on to "take care of" prospects. TJ Minor, a defensive end in 2005 and '06, recalled watching an Orange Pride member at a recruiting party. "As soon as the recruit came in, she was like, Where is he? She just went to town right then. She slept with him on the spot. At the time I was thinking, like, Wow, That's cool. It's part of recruiting," the report quoted him as saying.
Punished, not banned
LSU hired an outside law firm to conduct the investigation in 2013, finding that he did not have any sexual relationships with the women. However, the firm stated that the behavior was inappropriate. LSU punished the coach by having him sign forms that showed he understood the school's policies and issued a letter of reprimand. The school then prohibited him from hiring football operations or student employees and ordered him not to be alone with them. Additionally, he was required to attend eight, one-hour sessions with an attorney, which he had to pay for himself. The school added that if he repeated the behavior, Miles would be fired.
The school hired outside law firm Husch Blackwell in November last year to audit how it handled dozens of cases dating back to 2016. The law firm's report is slated to be released on Friday, March 5, and will reportedly shed light on more of Miles's conduct while at LSU.
In a statement provided to ESPN, Miles's attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said the release of the investigation, "should put an end to the baseless, inaccurate media reports that Coach Les Miles engaged in an inappropriate touching of an Athletic Department student volunteer eight years ago."
"As the Report concludes, the allegation that coach Miles attempted to kiss the woman was supported by no evidence and warranted no discipline: 'We do not believe under existing law and the terms of the contract there is cause to discipline and/or terminate' Coach Miles. Coach Miles denied then, as he denies now, that any such conduct occurred."
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