Jeff Long planned to fire Kansas Jayhawks football coach David Beaty and replace him with Les Miles early in his tenure as athletic director but needed the money to do it, newly released court documents show.
Long and others planned the firing during the fall of 2018, including Long directing an employee to start raising funds from donors to finance the coaching switch. In the midst of that planning, questions about Beaty took a turn toward a personal nature when Chris Freet, a top Kansas Athletics, Inc. official, quizzed a colleague about Beaty’s sex life, including whether the coach was involved in an extramarital affair.
Ultimately, Long fired Beaty in November 2018, initially promising the coach $3 million due to him under his contract. The payment was later withheld after Kansas Athletics reclassified Beaty’s firing as for cause after an investigation found one of Beaty’s non-coaching staffers engaged in impermissible coaching activities under NCAA rules.
Those details and others emerged in two sworn depositions from February that were unsealed this week in a lawsuit that Beaty filed against Kansas Athletics, seeking the $3 million he says is owed to him. The documents present a portrait into how Beaty was fired and other details about the inner workings of Kansas Athletics, an organization keen on walling off public scrutiny of its private dealings.
As you can guess, there’s nothing in what follows that any rational human being would consider flattering to Jeff Long, which hardly rates as a surprise, considering what a mediocre athletic director Long has been over the course of his career. This futile exercise in denial might be my favorite bit:
Beaty’s lawyer Michael Lyons pressed Long repeatedly about video clips of game footage from the 2019 season, coached by Miles, showing Long numerous snippets of non-countable KU coaches interacting with players and coaches on the sideline…
Lyons showed Long a later clip after KU had scored a touchdown against Boston College. Miles and special teams analyst Devin Ducote both held up their index fingers, appearing to show players that KU was electing to kick the extra point.
When Lyons argued that signaling by an analyst would be a violation during a game, Long disputed that.
“Devin could be signaling, ‘We’re No. 1,’” Long said. “We just scored a touchdown against Boston College. I don’t know. I don’t see any tactical thing. I see a finger in the air.”
And, the inevitable punchline.
Long also revealed that after The Star ran its original story, he instructed compliance to look into the matter, saying, “it appeared from the news article there was a potential violation.”
Jeff Long being shitty and vindictive at his job doesn’t surprise me, but you know what does? Why schools keep thinking going to court will eventually vindicate them. (Remember, Beatty’s buyout is a relatively small $3 million.) Pro tip: when you have morons running your athletic department, they’re generally not going to be made to look any smarter in a deposition.