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Kansas splits with athletic director Jeff Long after parting ways with Les Miles

Former Kansas head football coach Les Miles posted a 3-18 record in two seasons at Kansas. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Former Kansas head football coach Les Miles posted a 3-18 record in two seasons at Kansas. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

March 10 (UPI) -- The University of Kansas announced Wednesday that Jeff Long was stepping down as athletic director at the school.

Long's resignation came two days after Kansas parted ways with head coach Les Miles amid allegations of inappropriate behavior toward female students while he was LSU's football coach.

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Long hired Miles as the Jayhawks' head coach in 2018. They have a long-standing relationship dating back to their days together at Michigan in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In a statement released through the school, Long said he met with Kansas Chancellor Dr. Douglas Girod on Tuesday night. They agreed it was in the best interest of the program that Long step down as athletic director.

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"It is not easy, but I leave KU with a heavy heart and profound confidence that I have always acted in the best interests of Kansas Athletics," Long said. "I have done everything in my control to move Kansas Athletics forward in a positive manner, that's what makes this most difficult."

Girod announced that longtime Kansas donor Kurt Watson will serve as interim athletic director. Girod said he would lead the school's process of finding a new athletic director with the help of a search firm and four alumni advisers.

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Once the new athletic director is hired, that individual will start the search for the Jayhawks' next football coach.

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"I know the past week has been challenging for those of us who love Kansas Athletics, but I am heartened by the passion of our university community," Girod said in a statement. "Since becoming chancellor, I have spent countless hours with Jayhawks to hear their perspectives on KU.

"A common theme in these conversations is that we must strive for excellence in all areas, including athletics. As I have said many times, a successful athletics department is inextricably linked to our mission as a flagship research university. That perspective will serve us well as we identify our next leader of Kansas Athletics."

Kansas announced Monday night that it "mutually agreed to part ways" with Miles. The school placed him on administrative leave Friday and said it would conduct a review to determine his future with the football program.

Last week, two law firms released reports on behalf of LSU, which showed that a 2013 internal investigation accused Miles of inappropriate behavior. Miles was accused of contacting female students through social media and text message, meeting them off-campus and kissing at least one of them.

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The reports also described failures by LSU to adequately report the alleged incidents. Former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva recommended in 2013 that Miles be fired due to the accusations.

Miles has denied kissing the student and any further wrongdoing. LSU fired him in 2016 when the Tigers began the season at 2-2.

The 67-year-old Miles compiled a 114-34 record and won a national championship in 12 years at LSU.

Miles posted a 3-18 record in two seasons at Kansas, including a 0-9 mark in 2020.

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