As first reported in the Austin American-Statesman, an internal audit conducted by UT concluded that employees of the Longhorn Foundation "systematically abused their access to Longhorns football tickets for years, resulting in preferential treatment for favored donors, secret arrangements with ticket brokers and untold financial losses for the university."
The investigation into the ticketing system began in 2013 after a couple UT employees notified the athletics department of potential improprieties. The university launched an investigation that concluded with the auditor's final report obtained by the Statesman. Read the whole story for a detailed breakdown of all the findings, but here's a rough summary of what was going on.
Up until changes made in 2014-15 as a result of this investigation, there was little to no oversight of the ticketing system. Basically, there were several dozen people who had access to the ticketing system, and all of them could manipulate the data entered into the system and print complimentary tickets on any of 14 unmonitored printers. No surprise, several individuals took advantage of this lack of oversight to benefit themselves and certain donors, either by entering phantom donations into the system to increase a donor's point allocation or printing complimentary tickets that were either given or sold to donors and secondary ticket brokers. We don't know who exactly was doing this, or whether they've been fired, only that lots of changes were made in response to prevent this kind of abuse in the future.
What to make of all this? It's pretty clear from the Statesman story that the university's investigation was at least as concerned with not shining too bright a light on this as it was discovering any improprieties in the shadows, which isn't surprising, but gives this a fouler stench than it otherwise might have. The university's corrective actions with respect to the ticketing system itself sound as though they've been adequate, but it's not clear who knew about these improprieties, for how long, and whether anyone was actually held accountable. We know that Travis County prosecutors did not file any charges, and university officials give only the vaguest notion of any impact on personnel.
In the end, it mostly feels to me like one more piece of validation that, if anything, we were late in ending the Dodds-Brown era of UT Athletics. For all their deserved accolades for what they accomplished, the final years of that era were defined by entitlement, favoritism, and insufficient accountability.
And that, as we all know, is a topic we've had to spend far too much time talking about the last few years. If only as a matter of exhaustion, I suppose I'm inclined to fall in line with the university on this one and just be glad to be moving on.