As more and more new information comes to light, it appears that Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long may be the issue in Kansas athletics. Let’s look into the history.
The Kansas Jayhawks football team has been down a rocky path its entire program history. When the program hired Jeff Long as the school’s athletic director in 2018, the hope was that this would soon change. After all, Kansas has been “blue blood” in men’s basketball for decades. In fact, the last time they suffered a losing season was in 1982-83, when they fell to a 13-16 record and fired head coach Ted Owens.
Since Long’s hire at Kansas, the football program is a measly 6-27, and despite the flashy hire of Les Miles in 2019, now on their third football coach in Lance Leipold, who was hired in May. Leipold was considered a good hire as well, coming from a Buffalo program that has been fiercely competitive.
Miles was fired in March of 2021 from Kansas without cause over his sexual scandals from LSU that have come to light. Initially, he was praised for his decision. Now, as more details over the conduct of the program have come to light, perhaps Miles wasn’t the complete problem. The fingers are beginning to point at Jeff Long.
Jeff Long has experience dealing with these types of scandals
Ironically, this is not the first time that Long has fired a football coach over sexual misconduct. NBC Sports Edge writer Thor Nystrom, an award-winning college football writer, pointed this out back in March and not many people were prepared to listen at the time.
In an extended Twitter thread, Nystrom broke down the entire history of Long’s career while calling for his dismissal. In this article, I want to let Nystrom tell the story while providing you with historical contexts.
Obviously, Nystrom was ahead of the curve. Not many people had connected the dots leading back to Long.
Hiring Bobby Petrino to Arkansas
Jeff Long was hired as the Athletic Director at Arkansas in 2008, where he remained until 2017, only leaving to take the Kansas job. His first move was to hire Bobby Petrino, who was the former head coach at Louisville and had taken the head job in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons. He left the Falcons during the 2007 season to take the Arkansas job. He was gone in the middle of the night and without warning, leaving only a 78-word letter behind as the Falcons held a 3-10 record.
Atlanta Falcons Players, Out of my respect for you, I am letting you know that, with a heavy heart, I resigned today as the Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons. This decision was not easy, but it was made in the best interest of me and my family. While my desire would have been to finish out what has been a difficult season for us all, circumstances did not allow me to do that. I appreciate your hard work and wish you the best. Sincerely, Bobby Petrino.– Letter to the Atlanta Falcons players in 2007.
It had been a rough season for Atlanta. Michael Vick had been arrested over the offseason and served his prison sentence over the infamous dog fights. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had personally called the Atlanta Falcons owner, Arthur Blank, to inform him that Arkansas spoke with Petrino about the job opening. The team held a meeting where Petrino voiced his concerns, and Atlanta addressed them – or so they thought. 24 hours later, Petrino was on a flight to sign his contract with Arkansas.
The fall of Petrino at Arkansas
Arkansas saw success under Petrino, who flipped the program into a competitive SEC football program. They were 34-17 with an 11 win season in 2011 and a rising threat to Alabama. Unfortunately for Petrino, he couldn’t keep thinking with the right head. He began a sexual relationship with his 25-year old office assistant, Jessica Dorrell.
April 1st, 2012, Petrino was on a motorcycle with Dorrell when he wrecked, injuring them. When the details of the relationship became public, Petrino admitted guilt to all of it. Long blasted the injured coach for not disclosing the affair and allowing him to hire Dorrell into a full-time position with the program. Petrino was fired with cause on April 10th, 2012.
Remember now as well, Petrino has been married to his wife, Becky, since 1985. The couple has four children together as well. This became a national story quickly because of the intricacy involved.
Dorrell herself went on to marry her boyfriend at the time, Josh Morgan, on February 9th, 2013.
Nystrom points out it’s odd that Long had no idea
It is bizarre that Jeff Long truly had no idea of the affair taking place. As Nystrom points out, Petrino had to gain approval from Long on the promotion of Dorrell. Something here was fishy.
Around the same time, Les Miles was under similar heat
The next year, 2013, LSU launched an internal investigation into head coach Les Miles and apparent sexual misconduct. LSU received several complaints from female students who accused Miles of inappropriate behavior. The LSU athletic director, Joe Alleva, recommended that the school fire Miles after the findings. However, LSU was very competitive, coming off of a National Championship appearance in 2011.
Instead of firing Miles, the school ordered their coach to go to therapy, banned him from visiting with female students one-on-one, and if he violated their agreement, he would be fired with cause. The findings were not released until March of 2021.
Let’s take away from the key findings in the document:
- A student was so uncomfortable with Miles that she quit her part-time position in the department in February 2013.
- Miles told a second student that he was attracted to her and wanted to take her to his condo or a hotel room in March 2013. Allegedly, he offered her “quid pro quo” to help her with her career after kissing her behind the athletic department building.
- The second student claims she was subject to unwanted touching.
- These problems were violations of NCAA codes.
Long’s first mistake at Kansas was firing David Beatty
Let’s now fast forward to Long’s arrival in Kansas in 2018. The Kansas football program has struggled to remain competitive even outside of their conference and was in the fourth year under head coach David Beaty. Long gave Beaty a chance, but the program won just three games, leveling his career total to just six at Kansas. Long met with Beaty to inform him that he was being fired and promised him his $3M payout.
The problem was when Long fired Beaty. He officially fired him “with cause” over a recruiting violation in the football department. Kansas self-reported two Level-II recruiting violations that had “occurred, if at all, a year or more earlier.” Beaty sued the school and received the money he was owed, plus $2.5M in damages, over the false accusations.
Jeff Long hires Les Miles to Kansas
When Jeff Long replaced David Beaty, he shot for the home-run hire by bringing in Les Miles. The hire was nationally applauded for its ambition, as Miles had been successful at the SEC level. However, in the introductory press conference, Nystrom points out that a few things were just off.
Long didn’t put together a search committee. Rather, he elected to take on the process himself. When asked who else was considered for the position, he couldn’t recall any other finalists.
Obviously, Long didn’t have any other finalists. Much of the presser was spent talking about the long-standing friendship between the two. Long knew exactly who he wanted to hire before he had fired David Beaty. Instead of owning up to it, Long claimed he had done all of the research and made a list, which Miles was on top of.
Long essentially admitted that he hadn’t vetted Miles
Because of the lack of a search, Long clearly didn’t properly vet Miles. Upon firing the coach in March from the released documentation, Long claimed that no one had spoken to inform him of these allegations.
Long fired Miles, along with a $2M settlement, to leave the program.
Nystrom says it all brilliantly here. Long fired people for less, and with Miles and the situation he placed himself into, it is very odd that Long defended him openly.
Don’t put Caperton Humphrey’s story on Les Miles
Kansas engaged in incredibly odd behavior during the tenure, too. The latest story to emerge is the story of fullback Caperton Humphrey. A 2019 dispute between teammates led to Humphrey leaving the program stemming from systemic bullying. Rather than addressing the situation head-on, Kansas agreed to pay Humphrey to leave the program.
After a dispute, Humphrey had approached his car after practice and found the lug nuts on his tires loose. He suspected the teammates had done it, although there was no evidence and no arrests were made. Instead, Humphrey turned in to Kansas’ compliance office that certain players were illegally selling marijuana out of their dorms. This escalated into a confrontation at Humphrey’s apartment, where the police were called.
Miles refused to meet with his former player and Humphrey’s father, insisting that the players settle their differences on the practice field. The Humphrey family wasn’t comfortable with that, especially after diming out players for selling drugs. Instead, the program agreed to pay Humphrey $50,000 while retaining his scholarship and paying several travel stipends to send him home. In addition, Humphrey signed a non-disclosure agreement about the happenings in the program. Now, the Humphrey’s are considering legal action against the Kansas program.
Jeff Long appears to be the problem in Kansas athletics
Jeff Long’s name was remarkably absent from the paperwork involving Caperton Humphrey. He didn’t sign any of it, according to reports from CBS Sports. It sounds like Long needed a fall-man for the stunt, and that fall-man was Les Miles, who has already been fired from his post.
Many of these problems that have arisen in the Kansas football department could have been avoided. The David Beaty fire was a mess. The Les Miles era was a mess, one that the program is still cleaning up. All of the responsibility falls on Jeff Long, who has tried for so long to keep his hands clean.
Kansas needs to fire Jeff Long if they want to remain athletically relevant.