LSU banning RB Guice, firing longtime law firm

LSU, which is struggling to recover from an ongoing sexual harassment scandal that involved allegations against former coach Les Miles, is in the process of banning star running back Derrius Guice indefinitely from the athletics program, a school spokesman confirmed to ESPN on Friday.

The university is also cutting ties with its longtime law firm, Taylor Porter.

The decisions are part of sweeping changes LSU is making in response to a March report from Husch Blackwell, which detailed systemic failures by LSU to appropriately report incidents of athletic-related sexual misconduct and abuse.

Guice was charged in three separate domestic violence incidents in 2020 and two women accused him of sexual assault while he was a freshman in 2016. A third LSU student alleged in 2016 that Guice had taken a partially nude photo of her without her knowledge and showed the pictures to his teammates.

The university plans to remove his statistics from the school record books.

The Husch Blackwell report also revealed that former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva recommended in 2013 that Miles be fired as head coach of the football program after accusations of inappropriate behavior with female student workers.

At its next meeting, LSU’s current board of supervisors will also consider a “vote of disapproval” for the failure of three previous board members to tell the rest of the group about the allegation of misconduct made in 2013 against Miles. The board will formally recognize that similar personnel matters should be shared with the full group moving forward.

According to Taylor Porter’s 2013 internal investigation on behalf of LSU, Miles was accused of contacting female students via Facebook and text, meeting them off campus alone and kissing at least one of them. According to the report, Miles strongly denied kissing the student and said he didn’t do anything wrong and that he was mentoring young women at the university.

Miles, through his attorney, has continued to deny any misconduct and has since left his job as head coach at Kansas.

According to a copy of the May 15, 2013, Taylor Porter report, which was obtained in March by ESPN, only three of the 16 LSU board members — Hank Danos, Bobby Yarborough and Stanley Jacobs — were involved and informed of the process. According to the report, those present “agreed that this was appropriate administrative action that could and should be taken without further review by the full board.”

Taylor Porter, which is based in Baton Rouge, was LSU’s law firm for the past 80 years.

“LSU has issued a notice to Taylor Porter removing them from all pending litigation,” Ernie Ballard, media relations director at LSU, told ESPN on Friday night.

David Shelby, Taylor Porter’s general counsel, told The Advocate on Friday night that the firm acted ethically.

“Our firm’s attorneys made no recommendations about who should be informed of the results of the investigation,” Shelby told the paper, which first reported the story. “Indeed, it was not our place to do so in light of the issues presented by the investigation. Any suggestion that Taylor Porter orchestrated or participated in a cover-up is absolutely false, and, in time, the full record will make this clear.”

LSU is also imposing additional discipline on several of its staff members, according to information provided by LSU on Friday night.

Assistant athletic director Verge Ausberry, who received a text message in 2018 from a football player who admitted to hitting his girlfriend but didn’t report it to police or Title IX, is suspended from football games this season. He already completed a 30-day suspension without pay, and is now going through training on sexual assault. He is required to provide personal responsibility training and sexual misconduct training annually for groups across campus.

Senior associate athletic director Miriam Segar has been removed from her Student Conduct role and served a 21-day suspension without pay. She is in the process of mandatory training on sexual assault.

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