Analysis: What we learned from report on LSU's mishandling of sexual accusations in athletics
BATON ROUGE — One thing was clear after Friday's exhaustive, candid and detailed presentation by the Husch Blackwell firm on LSU's mishandling of sexual allegations against football players, former coach Les Miles and others.
LSU interim president Thomas Galligan, an attorney, legal scholar and former LSU law school dean, is taking that firm's word as gospel. Whether the rest of LSU does so remains to be seen.
It was a day of reckoning at LSU not often seen in the history of the school.. If the firm's recommendations — 18 of them if you're counting — are carried out, LSU will complete a transformation from a good-ol'-boy school that lets the football program make the campus its personal throne to an institution of higher learning no longer in the 1980s.
Here are five takeaways from a day at LSU that will not soon be forgotten.:
Deputy AD Verge Ausberry suspended
Deputy athletics director Verge Ausberry was suspended for 30 days without pay and ordered to attend seminars on domestic and and sexual violence after he kept quiet about former LSU wide receiver Drake Davis, who was "accused of abusing at least three female LSU students" while on the team from 2016-19, the Husch Blackwell report stated.
"We believe the University should consider appropriate discipline for Ausberry," the report said of LSU's No. 2 person in the athletic department. "We view the failure to report (Davis) as a significant error by Ausberry. The failure could have led to catastrophic consequences."
Husch Blackwell concluded its section of the report on Davis with this chilling comment. "Ultimately, the most appropriate and effective intervention was Davis needed to be prosecuted and jailed."
Yet, Ausberry did little toward that end, and Davis was not kicked out of LSU until July of 2019. So, why only 30 days?
"The discipline was appropriate," Husch Blackwell partner and spokesman Scott Schneider said at a news conference. "Not a big fan of offering up people as sacrificial lambs."
Associate AD Miriam Segar suspended
LSU was also a tad light on associate athletic director Miriam Segar, who obviously exerted far too much power in her reign as LSU's cleaner. She alone decided what sexual complaints concerning football players got to the Title IX office. That has now been completely changed as a new Civil Rights and Title IX office will open soon at LSU.
Segar has been suspended for 21 days without pay and has been stripped of her previous powers.
"That was an eye-opening moment," Schneider said of Segar. "How does this happen that the reports are going directly to Miriam Segar? That was remarkable to me."
"The biggest lesson from Baylor is you can't allow athletics to basically decide what gets forwarded to the Title IX office," he said. "It needs to go directly to the Title IX office. I was just a bit beside myself."
Former athletics director Joe Alleva was responsible for Segar being the wall between LSU football players and the Title IX office.
"The edict for Miriam in essence to kind of be a choke-point for whether the report gets to the Title IX office was his (Alleva's), and it's a problematic practice," Schneider said.
Alleva wanted Miles fired in 2013
But Schneider said Alleva was right in trying to fire LSU football coach Les Miles in 2013, and it was not because of Miles' bad offenses.
Alleva may have wanted to fire Miles shortly after Alleva became athletics director in 2008, which is something athletics directors like to do so they can pick their own man. But Alleva had very good reason to do so because of Miles' alleged off-the-field pursuit of female student workers from the football office.
Members of LSU's Board of Supervisors, however, blocked Alleva, as did other prominent money people behind the school. Miles had just gone 13-0 in the 2011 season before losing the national championship game to Alabama and was 10-3 in 2012.
Had Miles been fired with cause in 2013 because of his alleged sexual harassment of employees, LSU may not be swimming a cesspool of sexual issues now.
"I continue to say had LSU handled Les Miles' situation a little differently, it would have had an impact on the culture of the athletics program in terms of what it tolerates, number one," Schneider said. "And that reporting of accusations is valued. On that score, we were able to find some emails that Mr. Alleva drafted that I think were absolutely correct that were recommending the university decide to let him (Miles) go."
Schneider remains surprised that Miles was not fired in 2013. "I think his (Alleva's) instincts on that were the correct instincts," he said. "I don't know exactly how that LSU ended up with the decision they ended up with."
Miles was 34-6 from 2010 through 2012, Mr. Schneider, and just about everyone in Louisiana outside LSU's football office, particularly some female student workers he allegedly pursued, thought he was the greatest guy in the world.
Another Derrius Guice revelation
Husch Blackwell's 216-page report detailed a disturbing incident involving former LSU tailback Derrius Guice at a high school playoff game in the Superdome on Dec. 9, 2017, while Guice was still an LSU player. According to the report, Guice approached a 70-year-old female security guard and began grabbing himself and saying he liked older women.
Segar did not report this to the Title IX office and said an LSU attorney didn't "see an LSU athletics connection to the behavior, if it was true."
Husch Blackwell's conclusion on Guice, who has been accused of raping two women at LSU was not as dismissive.
"Despite at least four reports of sexual misconduct during his short tenure with LSU, he was never put through the University's disciplinary process," the report stated. "There are also no records that he was ever notified of these reports or that the University even intervened to provide him some targeted training."
Quote of the day
"The most important thing, and this is going to take time is culture," LSU interim president Thomas Galligan said in conclusion. "And the culture has to be that we do not accept domestic and sexual violence at LSU. That is not who we are. I love this institution, and I love it mostly because of its people. And we failed our people in this regard."