Stanley Jacobs, one of the few people informed of the 2013 sexual harassment allegations against then-LSU coach Les Miles, says he and others made the right decision by keeping the coach and that lawyers and the then president of the school strongly encouraged him. to keep the matter a secret.
However, during an extensive interview with Illustrated Sports On Tuesday, Jacobs acknowledged that the recent release of the scandal has given him sleepless nights and admits that Miles’ mutual split with Kansas on Monday night made him “pause.”
“It has kept me awake at night. Of course I do, ”says Jacobs, a New Orleans attorney who served on the LSU Board of Supervisors for 18 years and played basketball for the Tigers in the 1960s.“ The resignation makes me stop, but based on the evidence , I feel like we made the right decision. It is the evidence before us. “
Miles found himself at the center of a report released last week that details troubling issues within LSU’s athletic program when it comes to handling sexual assault and harassment claims. According to the report, the coach sexualized the staff of the working female student soccer team, demanding that they hire blondes with large breasts. Two student workers also filed sexual misconduct allegations against him, one of which resulted in a debate among college leaders to fire Miles, who was then in his ninth season as a coach and two years after competing in the national championship. .
A small handful of people were briefed on the matter, Jacobs says. The list included athletic director Joe Alleva; assistant athletic director Miriam Segar; at least two attorneys for the school’s outside attorney; the school’s in-house attorney, Shelby McKenzie; the then president of the school, William Jenkins; and three members of the Board of Supervisors, the university’s politicized governing and policy-making body.
The group met “several times” in a face-to-face setting and had “countless phone calls” to discuss the matter and deliberate on Miles’s future.
“We never spend more time on a measure than on this one. We take it very seriously, ”says Jacobs. “We all look to fire him. All options were on the table. “
Alleva, in fact, recommended firing Miles for a cause, news that emerged last week in emails the former AD sent to other school officials. Jacobs requested that Miles appear before the panel to address the situation, but attorneys told Jacobs it would be “inappropriate,” he says. Lawyers are typically required to adhere to the wishes of their clients, in this case LSU.
The attorneys, along with Jenkins, also demanded that he and other board members keep the ordeal a secret, Jacobs says. He did not discuss the matter with anyone until last week’s report brought it to light. During the past eight years, he was only questioned once on the matter. That came years ago from another board member, who asked him about it in passing. He said nothing.
Jacobs attributes his silence to an oath he took upon joining the board. If Kansas managers had called him to ask about the problem hiring Miles two years ago, Jacobs says he would not have released any information.
“I didn’t even tell my wife,” he says. “I didn’t tell anyone in this world. I couldn’t talk to anyone. “
Jacobs says he never spoke to Miles about the issue and never learned of any subsequent complaints filed against the coach. Still, Jacobs expressed disappointment with the coach on Monday, saying he’s “upset with him.”
After last week’s report, Miles was placed on administrative leave and Kansas announced Monday night that it had parted ways with the coach in a $ 1.9 million settlement.
During a press conference on Tuesday, KU athletic director Jeff Long revealed to reporters that Miles had reached a settlement with one of the working students who filed a complaint against him. Terms of that deal were not disclosed. Long says an investigative process during Miles’s hiring did not uncover the problem in the coach’s past.
On Tuesday, Jacobs spoke about the process in detail. In 2013, he was chair of the athletic committee of the LSU board of supervisors, a prominent and powerful position on the Baton Rouge campus. Attorneys for Taylor Porter, a Baton Rouge law firm who served as the school’s outside counsel, informed him and others of the issues surrounding Miles.
“At the time, we were informed that Coach Miles had created a female reinforcement group and had stereotyped the girls he wanted, that is, attractive, athletic, well-endowed women,” says Jacobs. “We were then informed that two complaints had been filed against Coach Miles, one complaint that they had examined and found to be not credible. The second complaint they reported to us was credible and they were dealing with the young woman and her father. “
Finally, a recommendation was made to the board members that the matter did not rise to the level of firing Miles, “even if the disputed allegations were true,” he says.
“As I recall, our legal advisor also warned us that under these circumstances and with great caution, we should still put a wall of protection around Coach Miles, as protecting the students was our main concern,” says Jacobs. “I really believe that we did everything necessary to protect our students.”