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KU Athletics Has Paid Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars To Defend A Lawsuit, With Meter Still Running

Former University of Kansas head football coach David Beaty is suing KU Athletics for $3 million in a contract dispute.
Charlie Riedel
Former University of Kansas head football coach David Beaty is suing KU Athletics for $3 million in a contract dispute.

Legal bills continue to pile up as KU Athletics defends itself against a federal lawsuit filed by former head football coach David Beaty.

So far, KU has paid a big downtown Kansas City law firm $352,553, according to legal bills obtained through the Kansas Open Records Act.

The trial isn't scheduled until February 2021 so there is the possibility for hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional legal bills.

Beaty sued after he was fired near the end of a dismal 2018 season. His contract called for a $3 million buyout but KU refused to pay, claiming Beaty violated NCAA rules.

Beaty disputes that in both his lawsuit and a response filed with the NCAA.

"Coach Beaty believes the limited football allegations are largely the result of an institutionally initiated investigation drummed up in December 2018 to concoct violations in an effort to retroactively void the $3,000,000 buy-out," Beaty's NCAA response said.

When KU Athletics failed to get the lawsuit dismissed last year, it hired Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner to defend itself. The top Bryan Cave partner on the case makes $730 an hour, according to the legal bills.

The bills are paid by KU Athletics, Dan Beckler, associate athletic director for public relations, said in an email. Neither the department nor Long chose to comment further.

The biggest monthly bill so far landed in March for $149,946. Two important depositions were taken in February, one from KU Athletics Director Jeff Long and the other from the former head fundraiser for the department, Matthew Baty. They gave vastly different accounts of when the decision was made to fire Beaty. Just those two depositions cost KU $36,820.

The two sides have been fighting over who should be subpoenaed and what documents and records should be produced.

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Sam grew up in Overland Park and was educated at the University of Kansas. After working in Philadelphia where he covered organized crime, politics and political corruption he moved on to TV news management jobs in Minneapolis and St. Louis. Sam came home in 2013 and covered health care and education at KCPT. He came to work at KCUR in 2014. Sam has a national news and documentary Emmy for an investigation into the federal Bureau of Prisons and how it puts unescorted inmates on Grayhound and Trailways buses to move them to different prisons. Sam has one son and is pretty good in the kitchen.