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Former Football Player Says KU Paid Him to Leave

Paul Steinbach

Former University of Kansas fullback Caperton Humphrey says the KU athletic department paid him more than $50,000 to leave campus after he reported threats and harassment from his teammates.

“They bought him off. That’s what they did,” Jamie Humphrey, Caperton's father, told The Kansas City Star, as reported last week. “They bought him off to keep his mouth shut.”

The elder Humphrey was in his son's apartment when about 10 Jayhawks teammates, four of whom had allegedly been harassing Caperton for weeks, burst into the his apartment living room and threatened the family members, including Caperton's 15-year-old brother.

As reported by The Star, Caperton Humphrey said he filed a police report after he had an argument with a pair of teammates who in the apartment below him and later discovered someone had loosened the lug nuts on one of his car wheels. When that same feud led to arguments before workouts in the locker room, Jamie Humphrey reported the situation to a lifelong friend in KU’s compliance office and also told him the players were selling drugs, based on Caperton's observations. The information was eventually funneled to football coach Les Miles who, according to Caperton Humphrey, told the players to watch themselves.

Continued tensions at practice led to the apartment confrontation, in which the intruders accused Caperton of being rich and racist, according to the Humphrey family, which requested a meeting with Miles the next day. It was declined, but Miles did meet with Caperton and the four other football players, though, asking both sides to apologize. Neither did.

Miles then offered a different solution, according to the Humphreys. The players would settle their differences on the practice field, pitting them against each other — head-on — in full-contact drills.

The Star reached out to Miles, former KU athletic director Jeff Long, KU compliance director David Reed and KU Athletics for comment on this story. Miles and Long didn’t respond and Reed and KU Athletics didn’t comment. In addition, The Star contacted each of the four teammates for their comments about the Humphreys’ allegations. Two did not respond and two declined to comment.

Text messages given to The Star by Jamie Humphrey show Reed saying he had knowledge one player in question “has been called in and read the riot act on drugs and animal abuse.” Beyond that, Reed wrote that he took the family’s concerns and “ran it up the chain of command anonymously” with KU Athletics while trying to protect Caperton. A roommate later informed Caperton that those players said Miles had met with them, telling them they needed to be careful with their activities because they had been reported to the athletic department.

A few weeks after the apartment confrontation, Caperton drove the more than 700 miles back home to West Virginia. KU Athletics said it would pay for the trip and more, as long as the family agreed to never tell their story.

Lawrence police records manager Kim Murphree confirmed to The Star that a 911 call was received by the department at 8:52 p.m. on March 25, 2019, with an officer being dispatched to Caperton’s apartment complex. That call did not result in the creation of a police report, Murphree said. 

A few days later, Reed told Jamie Humphrey that KU Athletics was ready to craft a secret document for Caperton. “They told him to go to West Virginia,” the father said, “and never come back.”

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