BATON ROUGE, La. — In a long and detailed report in USA Today, reporter Kenny Jacoby paints a portrait of sexist, racist and degrading policies based around the hiring of young women who hosted recruits during visits and alleged retaliation against a recruiting administrator who complained about it.
Sharon Lewis, an associate athletic director of football recruiting had a Zoom interview with USA Today, along with her lawyers, as she detailed what were sexist attitudes toward the women and their hiring and alleged sexual misconduct by then football coach Les Miles. Lewis also talked about what she said were years of harassment and retaliation she faced for questioning the practices and bringing them to other members of the athletic and school administration.
USA Today said that attorneys for Lewis plan to file a federal Title IX lawsuit, a state whistleblower lawsuit, and Equal Employment Opportunity grievance and a civil lawsuit.
USA Today said it tried to get comment from the principal players accused by Lewis, but that LSU said it would not comment on potential litigation, others declined or didn't respond and an attorney for Les Miles denied all of the allegations.
The news comes as the university continues to face allegations that it tolerated, turned a blind eye, or worse to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and sexual abuse in its athletic program.
Currently state lawmakers are seeking to have current football coach Ed Orgeron meet with a committee to discuss accusations that a 74-year-old woman was sexually harassed verbally by a star running back and that the school did little to hold him accountable. She alleges that Coach Orgeron had called her to ask her to be understanding with Derrius Guice, who is accused of a handful of sex crimes while at the university.
In the interview with USA Today, Lewis said that problems with Miles came shortly after her arrived at the school in January 2005.
Lewis, the article says, was in charge of coordinating travel, lodging, meals and meetings for recruits and their families and she managed a group of student workers who assisted with the recruiting visits.
Among Lewis' allegations of sexist behavior were:
- complaints about overweight girls and black girls on the squad
- categorizing the young ladies as am and pm girls - saying the 'am girls' should be relegated to office work and the 'pm girls' should be out for people to look at
- hiring fewer black girls or at least lighter-skinned black girls
Lewis said her complaints to administrators largely came back with requests that she do what Miles wanted or perhaps take a job elsewhere.
The article also details a student's encounter with coach Miles where the student alleges he ended up "on top of her in his office."