Hours after the news broke that Texas Longhorns athletic director Steve Patterson was fired by new president Greg Fenves on Tuesday morning, Fenves finally announced that he accepted Patterson's resignation in a "mutually agreed upon decision."
According to a report from the Austin American-Statesman, it took the school so long to do so because it was still negotiating a settlement with Patterson. Guaranteed $1.4 million annually until 2019, Patterson is expected to settle for "less than contract." Horns Digest believes that Patterson will have to take a buyout worth one year's salary or risk being fired for cause by the school.
Fenves declined to release the terms of the separation agreement until the Board of Regents approves it, but he did say this:
Fenves says in nutshell: "We are concerned about our fans, how they view the overall program and trust in Longhorn athletics."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) September 15, 2015
In a statement released by the school, Fenves left no doubt as to why he made the decision (emphasis added).
"Athletics is vitally important to the Longhorn nation," said Fenves. "For many, athletics is the front door to the university. The excellence and integrity of our program shines a bright light on all we do. Mike Perrin will solidify strong relationships with and among our student-athletes, faculty, students, alumni and coaches, building morale for student-athletes and staff."
As for Mike Perrin, who is expected to officially take over as the interim athletic director when the school confirms Patterson's dismissal, he'll sign a contract worth $750,00 that will run through August of 2016. The increasingly widespread perception is that Perrin could stay in that role for some time -- SI's Pete Thamel says the search may not even begin until the spring. According to Fenves, that timetable is still "undetermined."
Perrin also emphasized the need for communication in his own statement.
"I will focus on helping the university find the best fit in a future director while listening to all the needs of the Longhorn family," said Perrin. "As a former UT student-athlete, long-time fan and volunteer with Texas Athletics, I've worked closely with faculty, students, alumni, coaches and administrators. I will continue to do so in an effort to bring the Longhorn nation together."
Texas will introduce Perrin during an 11 a.m. CT press conference on Wednesday at the Tower.