Les Miles lawsuit against LSU, seeks reinstatement of vacated wins for Hall of Fame criteria

LSU coach Les Miles looks to the scoreboard surrounded by players during his team's 2016 game at Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
LSU coach Les Miles looks to the scoreboard surrounded by players during his team's 2016 game at Wisconsin at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

Former LSU football coach Les Miles reportedly filed a suit against the school Monday seeking to have 37 vacated wins with the Tigers reinstated with Miles arguing that the loss of those victories makes him ineligible for inclusion in the College Football Hall of Fame.

As originally reported by ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, Miles claims in his suit that LSU "promised us its help in undoing this injustice" but "went back on its word, forcing us to take this unfortunate action of suing to regain Les' rights."

The lawsuit also named the NCAA and the National Football Foundation, the latter of which manages the College Football Hall of Fame, as defendants. According to the lawsuit, as reported by ESPN, Miles states that LSU's "decision not to provide Miles with any form of due process was made in agreement with the NCAA, and in furtherance of the LSU defendants' negotiations with the NCAA concerning additional and more-severe penalties that otherwise likely would have been imposed on LSU and its athletics program."

Before the victories were vacated, Miles went 114-34 across 12 seasons at LSU between 2005-16, a run that included two SEC championships - in 2007 and 2011 - and a national championship, in 2007. Miles had previously served as the head coach at Oklahoma State and, after his firing at LSU in 2016 was the head coach at Kansas in 2019 and 2020. Miles and Kansas mutually agreed to part ways in March 2021 after sexual misconduct allegations against the coach from his time at LSU were revealed.

Detail of Les Miles lawsuit against LSU

Over his 18-year head-coaching career, Miles' teams went 145-73, a record that drops to 108-73 when the 37 vacated wins aren't included.

With his vacated wins included, Miles has a 66.5% career win percentage, well over the minimum 60% needed for College Football Hall of Fame enshrinement. With his vacated wins, however, Miles' career percentage drops to 59.7% — less than a percentage point away from hall of fame eligibility.

Here's a look at his year-by-year results:

Oklahoma State

  • 2001: 4-7

  • 2002: 8-5

  • 2003: 9-4

  • 2004: 7-5


  • 2005: 11-2

  • 2006: 11-2

  • 2007: 12-2

  • 2008: 8-5

  • 2009: 9-4

  • 2010: 11-2

  • 2011: 13-1

  • 2012: 10-3 (0-3 after vacated wins)

  • 2013: 10-3 (0-3 after vacated wins)

  • 2014: 8-5 (0-5 after vacated wins)

  • 2015: 9-3 (0-3 after vacated wins)

  • 2016: 2-2


  • 2019: 3-9

  • 2020: 0-9

Why did LSU vacate Les Miles' wins?

LSU was forced to vacate those 37 wins after the NCAA found that impermissible benefits were paid to the father of former Tigers player Vadal Alexander by a former booster at the school.

Alexander, a four-star recruit coming out of high school in Buford, Georgia, was an offensive tackle for LSU from 2012-15, earning second-team all-America honors as a senior in 2015. During his career, the Tigers went 37-14, with all of those victories since vacated.

Miles' lawsuit states that "the bulk" of LSU's violations and its most serious transgressions occurred in men's basketball, but that coaches such as Will Wade, who coached the Tigers from 2017-22, did not have wins vacated or coaching records changed despite being "directly implicated" in the infractions.

College Football Hall of Fame requirements

The College Football Hall of Fame has specific guidelines that must be met in order for a coach to be enshrined.

Along with coaching at an NCAA member school, the College Football Hall of Fame has the following criteria for coaches:

A coach becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years old. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head football coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.

The 70-year-old Miles, who is three years removed from his final game at his most recent coaching job, meets all other benchmarks for the College Football Hall of Fame beyond the win percentage.

The College Football Hall of Fame's win percentage threshold has been the subject of criticism in recent years, primarily because it prevents the induction of decorated coaches like Howard Schnellenberger and Mike Leach, who won at middling or nascent programs, but didn't reach that .600 mark for their careers.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Les Miles' LSU lawsuit over vacated wins about Hall of Fame induction