May 7, 2021

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LSU to strip Derrius Guice’s name from record books, cut ties with longtime law firm after misconduct report

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Louisiana State University will bar former star running back Derrius Guice from future involvement with the school’s athletic programs and strip his name from its record books, while also cutting ties with a law firm that helped hide results of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against former football coach Les Miles.

The moves, first reported Friday by The Advocate in Baton Rouge, are part of LSU’s ongoing response to last month’s Husch Blackwell report, which detailed LSU’s “serious institutional failure” when it came to handling cases of physical and gender violence. Husch Blackwell is the outside law firm LSU hired in November to review its handling of Title IX cases after USA TODAY chronicled systemic failures.

Those included multiple sexual misconduct complaints against Guice, who still holds LSU’s single-game rushing record and is fifth on the school’s career rushing list.

USA TODAY reported in August that LSU was told that two women had accused Guice of sexually assaulting them in 2016. A third woman told USA TODAY in a November story that Guice had taken a partially nude photo of her and shared it without her knowledge or permission, also in 2016.

LSU football helmets on the sideline during a game against Florida.

Federal laws and LSU’s own policies required university officials to report the allegations to the school’s Title IX office for investigation, as well as to campus police if the incidents occurred on school property. Instead, officials either doubted the women’s stories, didn’t investigate or didn’t call the police, allowing Guice to continue his football career.

The Washington Football Team took Guice in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. The team cut him in August, after he was arrested on domestic violence charges.

LSU is also distancing itself from Taylor Porter, which the Advocate said has been the school’s law firm for 80 years.

The Husch Blackwell report revealed that LSU had deliberately asked Taylor Porter to investigate complaints against Miles in 2013 so the findings would not become public. In a letter to Miles at the time, LSU attorneys said that the school would fight release of the Taylor Porter report in court should anyone request it.

Taylor Porter did not find that Miles had sexual relationships with any of the female student workers who had complained about him. But it did determine Miles had behaved inappropriately, and he was issued a letter of reprimand. He had previously been barred from being alone with female student workers.

Miles was fired in 2016, after LSU began the season 2-2. The allegations against him did not become public until this past January, when USA TODAY sued for the records. 

Miles has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. But he and Kansas, where he had coached since 2018, agreed to part ways after the release of the Husch Blackwell report.

Several previous members of LSU’s Board of Supervisors were aware of Taylor Porter’s investigation of Miles, but did not tell the rest of the board. The current board will consider a “vote of disapproval” for those members at its next meeting, as well as a formal recognition that similar personnel matters should be shared with the entire board in the future.

“These are difficult decisions, and the board has tried to work to get it right,” LSU board Chair Robert Dampf told The Advocate on Friday night. “We regret some of the actions we’ve had to take. But these are very complicated, fact-specific issues. They take time.”

LSU has been widely criticized for not taking harsher action against university employees who were directly involved in some of the most egregious failures.

The fallout cost Miles and former athletic director Jeff Long their jobs at Kansas, while former LSU president F. King Alexander resigned under pressure from his new job as president at Oregon State. Meanwhile, only two LSU employees have been disciplined.

Verge Ausberry, the executive deputy athletic director, and Miriam Segar, a senior associate athletic director, were suspended for 30 days and 21 days, respectively.

Ausberry was subsequently barred from attending football games this coming season.

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