Statement from Patti Ohlendorf, UT-Austin Vice President for Legal Affairs, regarding Women's Track and Field program
Jan. 5, 2013
Statement issued Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, by Patti Ohlendorf, UT-Austin Vice President for Legal Affairs:
Coach Bev Kearney informed The University of Texas at Austin today that she is resigning her position as head coach of the Women’s Track and Field program effective immediately. Coach Kearney also had advised the Austin American-Statesman of her decision.
Coach Kearney told the Austin American-Statesman that she had had an intimate consensual relationship beginning in 2002 with an adult, then a student-athlete in her program, and that the University had begun to review this relationship when it was reported by the former student-athlete in late October, 2012.
Neither the Intercollegiate Athletics administration nor the University administration had heard previously about this relationship. As soon as it was reported, Athletics notified the University President and the Vice President for Legal Affairs, who immediately began the review. Shortly after the review began, Coach Kearney was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome.
Based upon the review, the University does not believe that Coach Kearney had any similar relationships with student-athletes either before or after the reported relationship, which began about 10 1/2 years ago and ended at least about eight years ago. Coach Kearney is a good person and has been very important to the University. However, she made this terrible mistake and used unacceptably poor judgment in having this relationship.
The University determined that it no longer was appropriate for Coach Kearney to serve as head coach or to work directly with our student-athletes and was prepared to begin the termination process. This was discussed with Coach Kearney recently. The University told Coach Kearney that we cannot condone such an intimate relationship, including one that is consensual, between a head coach and a student-athlete. We told Coach Kearney such a relationship is unprofessional and 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.
As a public University, we are committed to transparency and disclosure. We also have a responsibility to our students to follow the strict federal laws that are designed to protect their privacy. The University will not identify the former student-athlete. We respect her privacy and appreciate her cooperation during our review.
The University’s Director of Women’s Athletics made interim arrangements for the track and field program pending the conclusion of the review and will move forward with plans to continue to provide coaching and support for the student-athletes in the program until a new head coach can be recruited and hired. Longtime assistant coach Rose Brimmer will lead the women's track and field program on an interim basis. Assistant Stephen Sisson will take on expanded duties as well. Work will begin immediately to fill for this period a third coaching position on the staff, as permitted by the NCAA.