Former women's track and field coach Bev Kearney - Kirby Lee -- USA TODAY Sports
The details have not yet emerged, but it appears there is some fire behind all that smoke billowing out of Bellmont.
As expected, former Texas Longhorns women's track and field coach Bev Kearney filed her racial and gender discrimination charge against the school with the EEOC and Texas Workforce Commission on Monday, starting a lengthy review process that will stretch into the fall.
While that has been in the works for some time, the somewhat surprising revelation this week was that Kearney's attorney, Derek A. Howard, revealed to the San Antonio Express-News that he and his team have indeed found instances of inappropriate relationships at Texas, even apart from the incident with co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite and the student trainer in 2009. That includes the faculty at large, in addition to the athletic department.
In fact, the Kearney camp has found what could probably be termed numerous instances:
Howard said he has knowledge of "in excess of 10" inappropriate relationships between UT staffers and subordinates. He said such relationships are "part of the culture" at UT and that none of the staffers involved have been subject to the same treatment Kearney received when the school discovered last fall she'd had an affair with a student-athlete in 2003.
The fact that Howard has found so many other relationships provides some serious firepower behind the charge leveled against the school, made even more important by the fact that Applewhite reported his indiscretion to the administration, thereby following the protocol laid out for such encounters. Kearney did not.
The dirt dug up by Kearney and her attorney may perhaps lend some credence to the rumors that circulated nearly two weeks ago about information that could cause serious damage to the Texas athletic department, though it's not yet clear how many of those instances happened in the athletic department.
There's also the question of a potential settlement by Texas, such as that extended to the former staffer who filed the sexual harassment lawsuit against former associate athletic director Cleve Bryant.
Kearney's attorney gave the latest on that front:
Howard said the EEOC will examine that case, as well as others. He said Kearney has not yet asked UT for a specific financial settlement, but she was about to receive a five-year contract extension worth more than $400,000 per season when she was suspended. If she asks UT for anything close to the total value of that extension, it would have to be approved by the board of regents, who have been publicly at odds with school president Bill Powers.
The last point is especially important for the future of this charge and potential lawsuit -- the political winds swirling around the capitol and, by extension, through the Texas Board of Regents and the ongoing power struggle with Powers, will leave the Texas athletic department, in all likelihood, hanging out by itself, forced to deal with the consequences of Kearney and her potential lawsuit by itself, without a financial bailout acting as a saving grace, as Chip Brown of Orangebloods has reported.
So Howard probably believes that he has a good chance of establishing a pattern of enabling behavior in the Texas athletic department and the Board of Regents almost certainly won't approve any settlement that DeLoss Dodds and company might decide to pursue.
Yeah, this is probably going to get ugly, probably right as the Longhorns attempt to save head coach Mack Brown's job and return the football team to national prominence.