• BREAKING: Statement from Major Applewhite

    Major Applewhite, offensive coordinator for the football team, released 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 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."

    Update: The following statement was released by DeLoss Dodds, men's head athletics director:

    "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."

    Update: Statement from Gene Powell, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents:

    "We are first and foremost concerned with the safety, health and well-being of our students on all fifteen UT campuses and wherever they travel under the auspices of our institutions. As a result, it was with great disappointment and sadness that we learned a short time ago about the reprimand given in February of 2009 to one of the assistant football coaches employed by UT Austin for inappropriate conduct during the football team's trip to the Fiesta Bowl in January 2009.

    At our direction, the General Counsel to the Board has posted notice of a special called meeting of the Board on Sunday afternoon, February 3rd, so that the Board can be fully briefed on issues related to this matter in executive session.

    We expect our coaches to adhere to the highest standards of conduct and lead by example. However, until such time as the Board can fully understand the background surrounding this event and its moral and legal implications, we will have no further public comment."

  • Board of Regents calls emergency meeting regarding employee-student relationships

    The UT System Board of Regents has called a special meeting to discuss legal issues related to individual athletics personnel and issues related to relationships between employees and students generally. 

    The meeting will take place via telephone conference call Sunday afternoon.

    System spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo declined to say why the meeting, which will be held in closed session, was suddenly called, but she did say that the board does not plan on approving any specific course of action as a result of the conference.

    “They don’t plan to take any action, but they made the decision that this was something they needed to care of and discuss,” LaCoste-Caputo said.

    In January, former women’s track and field head coach Bev Kearney resigned, several months after admitting to an “intimate consensual relationship” with a student-athlete in the track and field program. The relationship began in 2002 and ended in 2005.

    A year prior to the relationship, the University implemented a policy requiring that all relationships between supervisors and subordinates, including coaches and student-athletes, be disclosed.

    According to the University’s Handbook of Operating Procedures, “the University strongly discourages consensual relationships between supervisors and subordinates, teachers and students and advisors and students.” The policy goes on to say that a failure to report the relationship “will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”

    But Kearney’s attorney, Derek Howard, said the University’s reasons for firing Kearney made no mention of those specific policies.

    "[The University] doesn’t mention [Kearney’s] failure to report the relationship as the reason for firing her,” Howard said in a January interview with The Daily Texan. “It’s because she had the relationship, period.”

    Kearney was the women’s track and field head coach from 1993 until the beginning of January. Under her guidance, the Longhorns won six national championships and earned 14 straight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Outdoor Championships between 1994 and 2007.

  • City, transportation unveil transit plan to meet growing regional needs

    City and transportation officials released a transit plan intended to unite the Central Texas region Friday.

    At a press conference, Mayor Lee Leffingwell said within 15 years, the city will link Austin to Georgetown, Round Rock, Leander, Oak Hill, Kyle, Buda, San Marcos and San Antonio through commuter, urban and regional rail lines.

    A portion of the planned urban rail line will run along San Jacinto Boulevard, cutting through the UT campus.

    The transit plan also includes express lanes for cars on MoPac Boulevard and Interstate 35.

    “The plan is attainable. Now, we have to make it happen,” Leffingwell said. “We must make this a priority.”

    The plan was created by Project Connect, a regional collaborative organization that includes the city of Austin, Capital Metro, the Lone Star Rail District and Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, widely known as CAMPO.

    Project Connect is charged with implementing a portion of CAMPO’s 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, which aims to address Central Texas’ public transportation needs as the population grows.