One of life’s small mysteries for me is why people continue to think Kansas AD Jeff Long is one of the leading lights of his profession. Throwing money at Bobby Petrino isn’t some act of genius, and that seems to be the high water mark of his career.
Now he’s gotten his school in a pissing match with the football coach he just fired, and it’s not likely to end well.
When Kansas fired head football coach David Beaty in November, the school said it would fulfill the terms of his contract, which called for a $3 million buyout if Beaty was fired without cause.
On Tuesday afternoon, Beaty filed a lawsuit alleging KU has not paid any of that buyout, even after the former coach agreed to meet with NCAA investigators after Kansas informed Beaty of a “potential” violation the school identified during his time as head coach.
The suit also says Kansas athletic director Jeff Long and “at least one other senior Kansas Athletics official” openly discussed needing to “find something” to void Beaty’s buyout, such as, in the suit’s words, “a dead hooker … in [Coach Beaty’s] closet.”
The lawsuit, filed by Beaty’s representatives in federal district court in Kansas, alleges KU first contacted Beaty in December to formally deny previously agreed-upon monthly payments of $500,000 over six months. According to the suit, the school told Beaty the reason for paying his $3 million buyout was “a self-initiated NCAA investigation being conducted — not by the NCAA — but by Kansas Athletics’ corporate counsel looking into impropriety involving a former assistant coach.”
Well, that’s one way to try to weasel out of a $3 million check.
The timeline’s kind of fun to follow here. First, Beaty is terminated on November 24. Less than a week later, he received a memo from Long confirming that he was “terminated without cause effective November 24, 2018. All liquidated damages payments owed to you will be paid out consistent with Section 12 of your current amended Employment Agreement and Section 7 (D) of your current amended Professional Services Agreement.”
Then comes December 14, and Beaty receives a letter from Kansas’ general counsel, notifying him that the school was conducting an internal investigation about possible NCAA rules violations conducted by a member of his staff. And while Kansas didn’t respond to numerous requests from Beaty about the specifics, that hasn’t stopped the school from notifying the conference and the NCAA about the allegation.
According to Beaty’s lawyers, Kansas has gone scorched earth.
The suit states that Kansas has been “more than willing to notify prospective employers that Coach Beaty is the subject of a NCAA investigation.”
That’s awfully nice of Kansas. So is this official statement.
The University of Kansas is aware of a court filing submitted by attorneys of former Head Football Coach David Beaty. While the university typically does not comment on pending litigation, the nature of the current matter warrants further context.
The filing is full of false claims and factual misstatements, including that KU’s Director of Athletics made salacious comments about seeking reasons to withhold payment from Beaty. Simply, that did not happen.
Here are the facts. Beaty was informed he would not be retained by KU on November 4, 2018, but would be able to coach the remaining games. Immediately following the end of the season, Kansas Athletics staff conducted standard exit interviews of all football coaches and staff, and through that process we learned of possible NCAA violations allegedly committed by Beaty. KU contacted the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference and began an investigation into the matter. Beaty refused to cooperate with the KU review and, ultimately, the NCAA took the lead in the still-ongoing investigation.
Due to the nature of the allegations, which, if true, would be in violation of the terms of Beaty’s contract, the university has withheld payment of money owed to Beaty pending the outcome of the NCAA investigation. In a show of good faith, the university has placed the full amount owed in escrow.
While disappointed in the court filing, the university is committed to seeking the truth and upholding our high standards of ethical conduct.
You can stop chuckling now. What’s impressive here, as you may have noticed, is that Beaty’s suit has caused the school to admit to possible NCAA violations, which should make for a lot of fun in discovery. Not that this is going to get anywhere near the point of Jeff Long sitting for questions under oath. Either the NCAA comes up with something relatively quickly, or Kansas settles, probably for an amount north of the buy out. (Beaty’s lawyers aren’t gonna pay themselves, after all.)
Yeah, that Jeff Long is brilliant.
Of course, no story about an NCAA investigation would be complete without this:
An NCAA spokesperson, Stacey Osburn, said in a statement to SB Nation: “We cannot comment on current, pending or potential investigations.”
Should Kansas part ways with Jeff Long some day — hey, parting is what Kansas does — they could do a lot worse than hiring Stacey. At least she knows when to keep her mouth shut.