Will the Major Applewhite story go away quietly?
[dropcap]U[/dropcap]niversity of Texas officials have clearly mastered the art of the Friday news dump.
Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds dropped a potential bombshell Friday evening, releasing a statement (below) that Longhorn offensive coordinator Major Applewhite engaged in “inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student.”
The statement said it was one-time incident that occurred during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl activities. Dodds said that he learned about the incident shortly after it happened and took immediate action to discipline Applewhite.
“We promptly initiated an inquiry with assistance from the university’s Legal Affairs office and other units outside of Athletics,” Dodds said in the statement. “Major admitted his inappropriate conduct and he was disciplined.”
Applewhite, who played quarterback at Texas from 1998-2001, was hired away from Alabama prior to the 2008 season and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2011. In a separate statement, Applewhite called the situation “regrettable” and said that he was “upfront and took full responsibility” for his actions.
“This is and was resolved four years ago with the University.” Applewhite said in a separate statement “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.”
The story is coming to light now in the wake of another scandal between a Texas coach and a student. Earlier this month, Texas women’s track and field coach Bev Kearney resigned after admitting she had an “intimate consensual relationship” with a student-athlete.
The Texas Board of Regents has called a special meeting for Sunday, Feb. 3 to discuss the Applewhite situation.
The Applewhite and Kearney cases are clearly intertwined, and despite Dodds’ statement that Applewhite has punished appropriately, Austin American-Statesman columnist Cedric Golden believes the situation will not go away. According to Golden:
As part of his punishment, Applewhite had his paycheck frozen for nearly a year. But he kept his job, unlike Kearney who would have probably been fired had she not resigned. Kearney’s attorney Derek A. Howard raised the possibility of legal action in the days following her resignation and told media outlets he would file an open records request, presumably to examine punishments handed to male coaches and professors in similar positions.
Could a lawsuit by Kearney be in the offing? Its looks like a strong possibility.
If that’s the case, this might be one Friday news story that doesn’t go away quietly into the night.
Statement from DeLoss 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.”
Statement from Major Applewhite
“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 upfront 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.”