Photo: AP Images
University of Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and the school’s athletic director released a joint statement on Friday night acknowledging that Applewhite had an “inappropriate” relationship with a student during the team’s trip to the 2009 Fiesta Bowl.Beyond the cheating on his wife while she was apparently nine months pregnant*, the timing of this announcement raises a lot of questions for the University of Texas and how it handled the affair.
Here is an excerpt from the statement from AD DeLoss Dodds (via CollegeFootballTalk):
“Major Applewhite engaged in inappropriate, consensual behaviour with an adult student one time during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl activities. After learning of his behaviour 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.”
But there are unanswered questions…
Is Texas guilty of discrimination and a double-standard?
Last month, Bev Kearney, the women’s track coach at the University of Texas, resigned over an affair with “an adult student-athlete” in 2002. Was the African-American, gay, woman forced out over a consensual affair while the white male football coach (who was also a star football player at the school) received preferential treatment? In Applewhite’s case, the affair was not with an athlete, but there may have still been a supervisory role. It will be interesting to see how Texas spins this.
Why was this statement released now?
Other than trying to bury the story late on a Friday night, Texas may also be trying to protect itself from a potential lawsuit from Kearney. If a lawsuit is coming, Kearney’s legal team will want to show that male coaches were not forced out over similar circumstances.
Is Mack Brown’s job in jeopardy?
The Texas football team has not played up to its own high standards in the last few years. It is not impossible to imagine that some within the program want to replace the 61-year-old coach, Mack Brown. If it was determined that Brown helped sweep this under the rug, Brown’s job might not be able to survive this incident.
While on the surface this sounds like a boring story about an assistant coach few people know, this story has the potential to explode into something much bigger.
* Major Applewhite’s daughter was born in January, 2009. The Fiesta Bowl occurred on January 5th. So there is a small chance the affair happened after the child was born.
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