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Jeff Long Out As KU Athletics Director Shortly After School Parts Ways With Football Coach Les Miles

Jeff Long and Les Miles stand together at a news conference.
Orlin Wagner
In this Nov. 18, 2018, file photo, Les Miles, left, is introduced as Kansas football coach by athletic director Jeff Long, right, during a news conference in Lawrence, Kan. Kansas has fired athletic director Jeff Long less than two days after mutually parting with Les Miles amid sexual misconduct allegations dating to the football coach’s time at LSU, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Miles was fired after an investigation of his years at LSU revealed inappropriate conduct with students.

Leadership at KU Athletics is changing faster than even seasoned sports observers expected.

Less than 24 hours after the University of Kansas parted ways with head football coach Les Miles, KU Chancellor Doug Girod announced Wednesday that Athletics Director Jeff Long is stepping down.

Miles and KU parted ways after an investigation at Louisiana State University, where Miles was head coach and won a national championship in 2007, uncovered evidence of sexual misconduct.

During a news conference Tuesday, Long was queried about his own job security. He indicated he would be involved in hiring the next head football coach, an expectation that was short-lived.

In a statement announcing Long's departure, Girod praised Long for being "unwaveringly dedicated" to students, coaches and staff.

"Jeff and I spoke at length last night, and while I know he would have loved to stay here many more years, I respect his selfless decision to step down so that we can move Kansas Athletics in a different direction," Girod said in a statement.

Kurt Watson will serve as interim director of Kansas Athletics.

The settlement deal with Miles will cost KU Athletics $1.9 million and pays Miles through the end of this year.

A look at the numbers

If the buyout deal between Les Miles and University of Kansas Athletics announced Tuesday feels a little like the movie “Groundhog Day,” it is only because we’ve seen this sports horror flick a lot in the last 15 years.

KU ranks third in the country in the amount of money paid to coaches who’ve been fired, according to a study last year by AthleticDirectorU.com. Since 2005, KU has spent $26.6 million buying out contracts. That includes the recent deal with Miles and $1 million paid to former offensive coordinator Les Koenning, who Miles fired six games into his first season at Kansas.

A quick review of the recent settlements include the following:

· Mark Mangino $3.6 million

· Turner Gill $8.3 million

· Charlie Weis $6.6 million

· David Beaty $2.5 million. KU spent another $500,000 defending a federal lawsuit filed by Beaty after KU tried to avoid paying a settlement.

Averaged per football win since 2005, the cost for each of KU's 59 victories is $451,000, placing even more scrutiny on the future of the program.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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