Former University of Kansas football coach David Beaty is suing the school's athletic department, claiming it concocted reasons to fire him to avoid a $3 million payout.
According to The Kansas City Star, Beaty filed his complaint in U.S. District Court in Kansas on Tuesday. In it, he alleges that to avoid the $3 million payout in the event Beaty was fired without cause, athletic department officials tried to find cause, such as "finding a dead hooker in [Beaty's] closet," according to the complaint.
Specifically, Beaty’s lawsuit claims that after he refused the athletics department's request for an extension to pay the former coach’s payout, Kansas Athletics initiated an NCAA investigation into the conduct of one of Beaty's subordinates. The investigation served only as a pretext to reclassify Beaty’s departure from KU as termination for cause, which would void the $3 million payout, according to the lawsuit.
The athletic department countered that possible NCAA infractions came to light during exit interviews at the end of the 2018 football season, in which the Jayhawks finished 3-9. It was the fourth straight season KU finished last in the Big 12 under Beaty.
"Immediately following the end of the season, Kansas Athletics staff conducted standard exit interviews of all football coaches and staff, and through that process we learned of possible NCAA violations allegedly committed by Beaty," KU athletic department spokesperson Jim Marchiony said in a statement. "KU contacted the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference and began an investigation into the matter. Beaty refused to cooperate with the KU review and, ultimately, the NCAA took the lead in the still-ongoing investigation."
The lawsuit alleges that on Nov. 4, 2018, newly hired athletic director Jeff Long told Beaty that the football program needed to move in a different direction and that the coach was being terminated without cause. Beaty had three years left on his contract at the time of his firing, following a home loss to Iowa State. The lawsuit further claims that Long promised Beaty that he would receive the $3 million under the terms of his contract. According to the lawsuit, by the end of the month Long and unnamed senior athletic department officials commented that they needed to "find something on Coach Beaty."
According to a media release from Texas-based lawfirm Deans & Lyons LLP, Kansas informed Beaty on Dec. 13 that it was conducting an investigation into a member of the football staff. Due to that investigation, Kansas told Beaty that it wouldn't pay his buyout until the investigation is complete, even though Beaty's representatives claim that their client has been cooperative in the inquiry.
"Ever since the season concluded, Kansas Athletics has moved the goal posts on coach Beaty," said Deans & Lyons co-founder Michael Lyons, as reported by CBS Sports. "Kansas Athletics can't walk back its decision to terminate coach Beaty without cause after confirming it publicly, privately, and in writing. Coach Beaty and his family will always cherish their time at KU, but they do not understand why Kansas Athletics has reneged on its promises."
"The filing is full of false claims and factual misstatements, including that KU’s Director of Athletics made salacious comments about seeking reasons to withhold payment from Beaty," Marchiony said. "Simply, that did not happen."
"I am extremely disappointed in the actions taken against me and my family by the leadership of a program I poured my heart and soul into for four years," Beaty, who now serves as a consultant for the University of Texas football program, told The Star on Tuesday. "Despite the current legal situation, I remain grateful for every second I had the privilege of serving as the head football coach at Kansas. My family now has lifelong friends in Lawrence, and I got to coach some of the most outstanding young men I’ll ever encounter."