Former coach Bev Kearney files discrimination complaint against the University

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Bev Kearney, former women’s track and field head coach, has filed a discrimination complaint against the University, according to her attorney, Derek Howard. 

She filed the complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission’s Civil Rights Division, which will now conduct an investigation to see if there were any violations of the Texas Labor Code. The commission has 180 days from the filing date to investigate the complaint and determine whether Kearney has the right to sue the University.

Patricia Ohlendorf, vice president for legal affairs, said the University will also begin reviewing the complaint.

“Coach Kearney’s allegations of discrimination will be reviewed thoroughly and responded to according to [the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] and Texas Workforce Commission procedures,” Ohlendorf said in a statement.

Kearney resigned in January after she was told the University was prepared to fire her because of a relationship she had with a student-athlete in 2002. 

The former student-athlete reported the relationship in October, after which Kearney was put on paid leave. Ohlendorf said in the statement Kearney was given an opportunity to provide her side of the story and appeal any decisions the University could make, but she chose to resign. 

Kearney and Howard contest that the University handled her situation differently than similar situations have been handled in the past. In February, a Texas Public Information Act request by the Daily Texan revealed football offensive coordinator Major Applewhite engaged in “inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student” during the 2009 Fiesta Bowl festivities. Applewhite’s salary was frozen for a year, but he was not fired.

Ohlendorf said the University reviews allegations and reports of unprofessional relationships on a case-by-case basis.

“As Coach Kearney was told by the University, the relationship that she had with the student-athlete 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,” she said in the statement.

Published on March 18, 2013 as "Former coach files discrimination suit".