University of Texas regents have directed a thorough review of the university’s policies governing what are deemed inappropriate relationships between employees of the school and students attending the university.
The action reportedly came following the revelation last Friday that Major Applewhite, currently the offensive coordinator for the Texas football team, had been disciplined by school officials in 2009 for what was cited as inappropriate conduct with a University of Texas student during a bowl trip to the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. At the time of the incident, Applewhite, a former Lonhorn quarterback and one of the most popular members of head coach Mack Brown’ coaching staff at Texas, was an assistant coach and coached the running backs.
The disclosure about Applewhite’s incident came about a month after former women’s track coach Bev Kearney resigned while under investigation by the school for an alleged 2002 relationship with a student-athlete in the women’s track program. UT officials disclosed they were in the process of terminating Kearney’s employment at the time she resigned.
At the time of Applewhite’s transgression in 2009, he was ordered by the school to undergo counseling and his salary was frozen for a year. Texas Director of Athletics DeLoss Dodds said the university looked into the matter involving Applewhite at the time and that he believed the Texas assistant coach had been disciplined appropriately.
The Texas board of regents held a two-hour phone meeting on Sunday with Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and representatives of the regents’ legal staff ti discuss the two incidents. Following the phone discussion, the regents did not direct any futher action against Applewhite.
“As leaders of the University of Texas system, our chief concern is and always will be the safety and welfare of the students on our 15 campuses, Regents vice-chairman Gene Powell and Cifarroa said in a joint stantement.
Texas school officials said that in both incidents the relationship were considered to be consensual. In Kearney’s case, however, her attorney, Derek Howard, has suggested that his client was treated unfairly and may file a lawsuit against the university.
Under Kearney’s leadership and direction, the Longhorns’ women’s track program had won six national championships since 1993. The athlete with whom Kearney was alleged to have had the relationship reported the incident last October. Kearney was place on administrative leave in November and resigned in early January this year.
Applewhite issued the following statement on Friday: “It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter. Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with DeLoss Dodds. I was upfront and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved by the university four years ago. Through counseling, I have worked with my wife, and the incident is behind us.”
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