University of Texas women’s track coach Bev Kearney, a Hall of Famer who has led the Lady Longhorns to six national championships, announced her resignation this weekend in response to the school’s investigation into an “intimate consensual relationship” she had with a student-athlete more than 10 years ago.
While news reports about Kearney’s resignation make no explicit mention of her sexual orientation, some do refer to the student-athlete as female. There are no protections for employment discrimination based on sexual orientation in Texas, but Kearney’s attorney, Derek A. Howard, alleges she was treated unfairly based on her gender and possibly her race.
“We believe that Ms. Kearney has been subjected to a double standard and has received far harsher punishment than that being given to her male counter-parts who have engaged in similar conduct,” Howard said in a statement. “It is a shame that this remarkably talented female African-American coach, who has devoted her life to helping others, is being bullied and scapegoated by the University of Texas.”
The school began investigating the student athlete’s claim in November, placing Kearney on leave after the woman came forward in October. The affair reportedly began in July 2002 and ended after Kearney was partially paralyzed in a car wreck that killed two of of her friends on Dec. 26, 2002.