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Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Former LSU football coach says school, NCAA kept him from Hall of Fame title by vacating wins

Louisiana State University vacated 37 victories from former head coach Les Miles' record in 2023, which he says unfairly removes him from eligibility for the College Football Hall of Fame.

BATON ROUGE, La. (CN) — Longtime Louisiana State University Tigers coach Les Miles — who brought the team to a 2007 National Championship — claims in a Monday lawsuit against the school that its 2023 decision to vacate 37 of his teams’ victories wrongfully keeps him out of the Football Hall of Fame.  

Miles’ federal suit said that he was given no chance to speak on the matter despite being “one of the most esteemed college football coaches in the history of the State of Louisiana.”

The coach says that LSU, NCAA and the College Football Hall of Fame — each named as defendants in the lawsuit — stripped Miles’ eligibility for the Hall of Fame by vacating 37 of his team’s victories between 2012 and 2015, altering his official career record from 145-73 (.665) to 108-73 (.597). A College Football Hall of Fame qualification requires .600 career win percentage or higher.

Miles claims that vacating the wins violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, writing that "the LSU defendants failed and refused to provide plaintiff with notice and an opportunity to be heard, or with any other form of due process, before defendants took from plaintiff his eligibility for nomination to the College Football Hall of Fame."

The team’s victories were tossed in June 2023 following an NCAA probe that found that former Tigers offensive lineman Vadal Alexander had received controversial financing while he was playing for the team.

In docking wins from Miles’ overall record, LSU was trying to minimize the overall impact of the NCAA retribution over various other violations that included former men’s basketball coach Will Wade, Miles claims. Wade was later found to have violated major recruiting violations by the panel, including illegal payments to families of potential players.

Miles said that the LSU football team was found to have had two violations, only one of which was under Miles’ direction, while the basketball team was found to have had six.

The violation involves a booster who was not affiliated with LSU giving cash to Alexander’s father while Miles was coach. According to Miles, NCAA bylaws say that coaches are responsible for those who report to them and the booster was not affiliated with LSU.

“The booster was not an institutional 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,” Miles said.

Miles also said the basketball team did not face the same penalties the football team did.

"Notwithstanding the more serious violations committed by the LSU basketball program and the fact that the basketball team’s coaches were directly implicated in those violations," Miles wrote. "LSU did not vacate any basketball victories and did not retroactively amend the basketball team’s record (or that of any basketball coach) to remove any basketball wins."

Miles is seeking a judgment that the vacated wins should be considered wins for the purposes of Hall of Fame eligibility and for the defendants to restore his eligibility.

Miles was fired from the LSU in 2016 after 11 years with the Tigers, with an 114-34 record. Previously, he’d coached at Oklahoma State, from 2001-2004, going 28-21.

After LSU, he was at Kansas for a year, from 2019-2020, where he went 3-18 and was fired following a $2.15 million settlement with a former LSU student LSU over claims he’d sexually harassed her during his time there.

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