Les Miles Files Lawsuit Against LSU, But Does He Actually Belong in the College Football Hall of Fame?

    Les Miles is suing LSU over 37 vacated wins, but should he even be in the College Football Hall of Fame if the wins are reinstated?

    Les Miles hasn’t coached a game since 2020 but he’s back in the college football lexicon this week after filing a lawsuit against his former employer, the LSU Tigers. There’s bad blood in Baton Rouge despite Miles leading the Tigers to a 2007 BCS National Championships, one of four natty’s in the program’s history.

    What made the former head coach file a lawsuit against the Tigers?

    Les Miles Files Lawsuit Against LSU

    Following a recruiting debacle from nearly a decade ago, the Tigers vacated 37 wins as part of a self-imposed punishment in 2023. Those wins were between 2012-2015, towards the tail end of Miles’ tenure with the Tigers.

    The decision to vacate the wins was based on a revelation that former Tigers OL Vadal Alexander received payment from a booster for a no-show job at a hospital.

    Vacating those 37 wins reduced Miles’ record at LSU from 114-34 to 77-34 and his overall record from 145-73 to 108-73, including a 28-21 record as Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach (2001-2004) and a 3-18 stint with the Kansas Jayhawks (2019-2020).

    Miles’ lawsuit, which also names the NCAA and the College Football Hall of Fame as defendants, contends that the self-imposed penalty was part of a grander scheme to appease the NCAA as it investigated violations for the Men’s Basketball Team.

    In 2019, it was reported that former Tigers’ basketball coach Will Wade was caught on an FBI wiretap in 2017, discussing payment for recruits with a middleman.

    The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Baton Rouge on Monday, demands the wins be reinstated and reprimands the NCAA for accepting the self-imposed penalty as sufficient punishment.

    The College Football Hall of Fame is named because the reduced win-loss record drops Miles out of the minimum .600 winning percentage threshold for inductees, with Miles’ overall winning percentage going from .665 to .596.

    Miles believes he should have been given a say in the punishment, or at least advance notice, before his record was significantly changed because LSU is a state-owned institution.

    Is Les Miles Worthy of the College Football Hall of Fame?

    While Miles’ accolades during his LSU tenure can’t be denied — a 2007 BCS National Championship, an SEC Championship in 2007 and 2011, and AP Coach of the Year in 2011 with another National Championship appearance — controversy followed him throughout his career.

    A 2013 report detailed Miles’s time at Oklahoma State, with allegations of a bonus structure system that paid players under the table based on performance, academic misconduct with tutors completing players’ coursework, and lax drug policy enforcement.

    His time at Kansas ended abruptly in 2020 after an internal investigation by LSU in 2013 was made public.

    Miles was accused of inappropriate behavior toward female students, allegedly contacting students on social media or through text, meeting with them alone and off-campus, and at least one incident where he kissed an athletic department volunteer.

    Miles vehemently denied the kiss and said he was mentoring the students. Still, that report revealed that LSU’s AD at the time, Joe Alleva, recommended that Miles be terminated in 2013 following the accusations. Following the investigation, Miles was barred from being left alone or contacting student workers.

    While he is currently disqualified from the College Football Hall of Fame based on a win-loss record technicality, it could be argued that Miles shouldn’t be inducted even if those 37 wins were reinstated.

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    Although a mostly successful career, his on-field success saw plenty of pitfalls that hardly make him a shoo-in to be placed among the game’s greatest coaches.

    Combine that with off-field scandals unbecoming of enshrinement, and the legitimacy of Les Miles’ College Football Hall of Fame candidacy is in question no matter the court’s decision on his lawsuit against LSU.

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