LSU Football

Les Miles Talks Sports Illustrated Report, Says He Did 'Right' by Oklahoma State

LSU head coach Les Miles
LSU head coach Les MilesCrystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 12, 2013

The week of scandals is impacting more than Oklahoma State and Alabama.

The five-part Sports Illustrated series exposing improprieties in the Oklahoma State football program partially focuses on events that took place while current LSU head coach Les Miles was head coach of the Cowboys from 2001-04. 

The allegations from SI include cash payments to players from boosters, dummy jobs, academic impropriety and a lenient substance-abuse program.

Miles addressed his time in Stillwater during the SEC's weekly coaches conference call Wednesday.

"Did we work hard? You betcha," Miles said. "Did we make tough decisions about starting lineups? You betcha. Staff, families and friends and anybody who sat in our meeting rooms knew that this thing was done right." 

Standard response from the Mad Hatter? Of course it is. Anything other than that response would have been a departure from the norm. What did you expect him to say?

The majority of the accusations being levied against the OK State program under his watch are impossible to prove. Cash in envelopes, schoolwork from a decade ago, and jobs for which players signed in but didn't perform the work present compelling stories.

But that's what they are: stories. Part of which are based in fact. Part of which are based in fiction or assumption, due in large part to the passage of time. 

All of which are impossible to prove.

Miles is deflecting because the last thing he wants is the NCAA sniffing around his LSU program. There's no such thing as a clean program, and most every coach in America knows this.

If we've learned anything from recent high-profile cases like Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel autograph scandal and the eligibility controversy of former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, denying reports when there's no way to prove them is how you avoid the NCAA hammer.

The word "right" is a relative term in this instance. Part of building a competitive football program is keeping players eligible and happy, which is the primary theme of the first two parts of the SI exposé. 

Were some rules broken? Of course—that's virtually impossible for a competitive FBS program to avoid. If you're worried about what will happen to Les Miles as a result of the lengthy investigative report from Sports Illustrated, don't be. 

His name might be sullied in the court of public opinion, but that's where the impact on Miles will end. He'll still be able to coach, recruit and win at an elite level because his track record on the field and in the NFL draft speaks for itself.

In other words, it's business as usual in Baton Rouge.

 

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