Bev Kearney was forced to resign over relationship with athlete, while football coach got only a reprimand
From staff and wire reports
AUSTIN — Former University of Texas women’s track coach Bev Kearney has filed race and gender discrimination complaints against the school with federal and state officials, the first step toward her pursuing a lawsuit.
Kearney, who is black, filed complaints Tuesday, March 12, with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Workforce Commission. By law, those agencies must have the case for 180 days before she can sue.
Kearney, resigned Jan. 5 as Texas prepared to fire her for an inappropriate relationship with one of her female athletes in 2002. In addition to her race and gender, Kearney has publicly questioned whether she was targeted because of her sexual orientation. However, there is no law prohibiting anti-gay job discrimination in Texas.
The university later revealed that assistant football coach Major Applewhite, who is white, was allowed to keep his job after having an inappropriate relationship with a female student trainer on a bowl trip in 2008. Applewhite was reprimanded in 2009 by athletic director DeLoss Dodds and his pay was frozen for a year.
“We think there is a double standard at the University of Texas, giving men the opportunity to engage in inappropriate relationships without fear of being caught or punished,” Kearney attorney Derek Howard said Saturday.
University of Texas officials said the allegations “will be reviewed thoroughly,” said Patti Ohlendorf, university vice president for legal affairs.
“The university reviews allegations and reports of unprofessional relationships on a case-by-case basis and did so after the relationship was reported to the athletics (department) administration last fall,” Ohlendorf said in a statement issued Saturday.
Kearney, who was hired at Texas in 1993, won six national championships with the Longhorns. She had been recommended for a large raise until the relationship was reported to the school in October and she was suspended in November.
Although Kearney and the school described the relationship as consensual, Ohlendorf said in January the school could not condone a coach having a relationship with an athlete, saying it “crosses the line of trust placed in the head coach for all aspects of the athletic program and the best interests of the student athletes on the team.”
School officials have said they don’t believe Kearney had any similar relationships with other student athletes.
In Applewhite’s case, his relationship with the student trainer wasn’t publicly revealed until 2013. According to a 2009 document in his personnel file released by the school last month, Applewhite was ordered by Dodds to undergo counseling and warned that a repeat offense would have more serious consequences.
Applewhite, a former Texas quarterback, was the Longhorns’ running backs coach and in his first season with the team in 2008 when Texas went the Fiesta Bowl. He is now Texas’ offensive coordinator. Applewhite has said the relationship was a “one-time” occurrence.