LSU's decision to keep Les Miles really did become official just before Miles was told after the Texas A&M game that he was staying on as the Tigers' coach.
According to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, LSU's president F. King Alexander said a final decision was made about Miles' future during a halftime meeting during LSU's 19-7 win over A&M.
Alexander confirms reports that the final decision on Miles’ future did not come until after a halftime meeting during the Nov. 29 game against Texas A&M, though he says the decision had “pretty much been made” a few days earlier. Among those in the halftime meeting were Alexander, Athletic Director Joe Alleva, and several members of the LSU Board of Supervisors.
“It was a combination of factors and a decision that we made collectively,” Alexander says. “We weighed all the factors in all this and it was a joint decision between many of our board members, our AD and many of us decided this was the wrong time and wrong place (to replace Miles.)”
ESPN had previously reported the Tigers met during the game to not exercise the $15 million buyout in Miles' contract.
The confirmation of the meeting is yet another crazy, yet predictable, twist in LSU's handling of Miles' career at the school. Whispers about a possible separation started after LSU lost games to Alabama and Arkansas after a 7-2 start and intensified after a loss to Ole Miss. Miles was serenaded by fans during the Texas A&M game and carried off the field by his players, before he or anyone else with the team had been informed he was staying.
Alexander also said that budget concerns did play a role in not exercising Miles' buyout. LSU has been dealing with a significant shortfall. While donors would have covered all or a large part of the buyout, using that money to get rid of a successful coach would have sent a bad message.
“After the type of budget battle we went through this past spring we certainly do not need to be throwing tens of millions of dollars around under certain circumstances,” he says. “We don’t need to go into the next legislative session with a black eye that we’re throwing tens of millions of dollars around on issues that aren’t associated with academic progress.”
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