University of Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds and football coach Major Applewhite released statements on Friday regarding an “inappropriate relationship” the coach had with a student at the Fiesta Bowl in 2009.
The statements were strategically released late on a Friday evening, which is when organizations leak or release news/stories they’re trying to bury.
Here is the statement from Dodds:
“Major Applewhite engaged in inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student one time during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl activities. After learning of his behavior later that month, I took immediate action to review the situation. We promptly initiated an inquiry with assistance from the university’s legal affairs office and other units outside of athletics. Major admitted his inappropriate conduct and he was disciplined. In determining appropriate discipline, we analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding the behavior and its relation to job responsibilities. Major fully accepted his discipline, including counseling. We have high standards for behavior and expect our staff and coaches to adhere to them in all aspects of their lives. I believe that the appropriate discipline was taken in this case.”
Applewhite played quarterback at the school from 1998-2001 and has been a coach in the program for seven years (over two different stints). He issued the following statement:
“Several years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate. It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter. Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with DeLoss Dodds. I was up front and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved four years ago with the university.
“Through counsel I have worked with my wife and the incident is behind us. I am regretful for my mistake and humbled by this experience. I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment it has caused my friends, family, and the University. I appreciate all of them. I’ve learned and grown from this and look forward to my work at Texas.”
Applewhite was an assistant head coach and running backs coach at the time of the incident. His discipline included counseling (as mentioned in Dodds’ statement), and his salary reportedly was frozen from Feb. 5, 2009-Jan. 1, 2010.
The school’s board of regents plans to meet Sunday to discuss the legal implications of inappropriate relationships between employees and students.
If you’re wondering why the story is coming out now if it took place in 2009, we have some ideas.
Former Texas women’s track and field coach Bev Kearney resigned last month after she was investigated for having a sexual relationship with one of her athletes in 2002.
Kearney’s attorney says the woman with whom his client had an affair came forward about the inappropriate relationship at a time when Kearney was about to ask the school for a $150,000/year raise and new five-year deal. According to CNN, Kearney and her attorney, Derek A. Howard, were planning to discuss her legal options. He said they were considering a gender and race bias lawsuit.
CNN reported that Howard planned to file open-records requests with the school in early January. He reportedly claimed that male coaches and professors at the school had similar relationships and weren’t punished.
Rather than have the news about Applewhite emerge through Howard, Texas probably felt it would be best to get in front of the story by releasing the statements. They also probably felt going public with the story would discount Howard’s gender bias claim.
In 2001, Texas implemented a rule that mandated system employees, faculty or anyone in a supervisory position report any consensual relationship with a student.
“In the event that a consensual relationship exists or begins to develop, the individual in the supervisory, teaching or advisory position shall immediately notify his or her immediate supervisor of the relationship and cooperate with that supervisor in making the arrangements necessary to resolve the conflict of interest,” reads Texas’ handbook of operating procedures.
Here you can read the school’s entire policy on consensual relationship between students and employees.
H/T My San AntonioGoogle+