Late Friday night, Texas released a joint statement with Longhorns offensive coordinator Major Applewhite about an incident involving Applewhite and an adult student around the time of the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. Applewhite, then a running backs coach for UT, engaged in “inappropriate, consensual behavior” with the student.
Earlier Friday, the University of Texas Board of Regents scheduled an executive session on Sunday afternoon to discuss, among other things, “Personnel Matters Relating to Appointment, Employment, Evaluation, Assignment, or Duties of Officers or Employees.” Per Mike Finger of the Houston Chronicle, only members of the UT system — in other words, no athletic director DeLoss Dodds or president Bill Powers — were a part of the meeting, no action was taken and no media questions were answered afterward.
What this means for Applewhite and UT going forward is still unclear. A statement released from members of the board only indicated that there would be a review of the system’s policies on relationships with students.
But all of this comes just weeks after UT’s women’s track and field coach, Bev Kearney, resigned because of a relationship she had with a student-athlete in 2002. From CNN’s profile of Kearney a month ago:
Derek Howard, Kearney’s attorney, said Monday that he and the coach were discussing her legal options, including a gender and race bias lawsuit. He planned to file open-records requests with the school this week, he said. He claimed that male coaches and professors at the school had similar relationships and weren’t punished.
My guess? Someone from Kearney’s team caught wind of Applewhite’s “behavior” from four years ago and told UT its reprimand of counseling and a pay freeze wasn’t consistent with what Kearney received, and then the board was informed of the situation.
Of course, there are variables in Applewhite’s situation that are important in determining whether Kearney has a legit case for a suit based on biases. Namely, what was the student’s relationship to Applewhite at the time of the incident?