Major Applewhite admits relationship
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite has admitted to a past inappropriate relationship with a student.
Applewhite is the second coach within the Texas athletic department in the past month to admit to such relations. Former track coach Bev Kearney resigned in January after disclosing to the Austin American-Statesman that she had an intimate consensual relationship with a student. Kearney had been placed on administrative leave for several months prior to her resignation.
Applewhite, who has been a coach at Texas on and off for seven years and played for the Longhorns, released a statement Friday night that addressed his "one-time" transgression during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl trip.
"Several years ago, I made a regretful decision resulting in behavior that was totally inappropriate," the statement read. "It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter. Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with [athletic director] DeLoss Dodds. I was up front and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved four years ago with the university."
Dodds also released a statement Friday night:
"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."
The university froze Applewhite's salary from Feb. 5, 2009 -- almost immediately upon learning of the behavior and discussing it with Applewhite -- until Jan. 1, 2010. In addition, Applewhite was forced to schedule a session with a "licensed professional counselor to determine if subsequent counseling is in order," according to a letter sent from Dodds to Applewhite on Feb. 5, 2009.
The letter was also placed in Applewhite's personnel file.
"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," Applewhite said in his statement. "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."
While Dodds and Applewhite both said in their statements that the matter had been dealt with, Texas has called a special meeting of the board of regents for Sunday at 1:45 p.m. ET.
"We are first and foremost concerned with the safety, health and well-being of our students on all 15 UT campuses and wherever they travel under the auspices of our institutions," the board said in a statement. "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."
The agenda for the Sunday meeting states there will be a personnel matters discussion, as well as a "discussion regarding legal issues concerning individual athletic personnel" and a "discussion regarding legal issues related to inappropriate relations between employees and students."
"We expect our coaches to adhere to the highest standards of conduct and lead by example," the regents' statement said. "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."
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.