Les Miles sues LSU, NCAA and College Football Hall of Fame over 37 vacated victories


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BATON ROUGE, La. — Les Miles, who coached the LSU Tigers to a 2007 national championship, is suing the university over its decision to vacate 37 of his teams' victories between 2012 and 2015.

The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Baton Rouge alleges that LSU never gave Miles a chance to be heard before altering the coach's career record significantly enough to disqualify him from consideration for the College Football Hall of Fame.

"Les was given no right to be heard, or even advance notice of LSU's actions, despite LSU being a state-owned and state-run institution that is bound by constitutional safeguards," Miles' lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, said in a statement.

The decision in June 2023 to vacate the victories stemmed from an NCAA ruling that former Tigers offensive lineman Vadal Alexander had received financial benefits that violated NCAA rules at the time he played.

The lawsuit also names the NCAA and Atlanta-based College Football Hall of Fame as defendants, and it demands that they reinstate the vacated victories to Miles' official career coaching record. LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said the university was "not able to comment on pending litigation." The other defendants did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

Vacating the victories changed Miles' official career record from 145-73 (.665) to 108-73 (.597). The lawsuit notes that a .600 career win percentage is required to qualify for the College Football Hall of Fame.

The lawsuit also contends that while LSU formally tied the vacated victories to alleged football violations, the university was trying to minimize its overall exposure to NCAA punishment for an array of violations that included conduct by former men's basketball coach Will Wade, who was subsequently found by an NCAA probe to have committed major recruiting violations.

"Trying to placate the NCAA and avoid punishment for recruiting violations that almost entirely involved the Men's Basketball Team and its coaches, and in no way implicated Les, LSU voluntarily offered to reverse dozens of victories earned by Les' teams," Ginsberg's statement said.

Ginsberg called that an "irrational and unfair self-inflicted punishment" by LSU, and he criticized the NCAA for accepting it.

The specific violation involved a booster who did not work for LSU giving cash to Alexander's father for a no-show hospital job. The lawsuit notes that while NCAA bylaws hold coaches responsible for those who report to them, the booster was not a "staff member of LSU or its football program and the NCAA did not find that Miles, as head coach, bore any responsibility for the sole violation that occurred during his time with the LSU football program."

When Miles was fired by LSU in September 2016, he'd gone 114-34 with the Tigers in 11-plus seasons. He also coached at Oklahoma State from 2001-2004, going 28-21, and at Kansas from 2019-2020, where he went 3-18. Kansas fired Miles after he was accused of improper conduct involving female students at LSU.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

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