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Kearney Sues UT

Former track coach claims race, sex discrimination

By Amy Smith, 9:30AM, Fri. Nov. 15, 2013

Bev Kearney
Bev Kearney

Former University of Texas women’s track coach Beverly Kearney filed a $1 million lawsuit Thursday against UT, claiming that her forced ouster earlier this year was rooted in racial and gender discrimination.

Kearney resigned Jan. 5 after her superiors informed her she would be terminated for having an inappropriate consensual relationship with a student athlete in 2002. The former student reported the relationship to university officials in October 2012, and Kearney was subsequently placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

According to the petition filed in Travis County district court, UT unfairly singled out Kearney, who is African American, for her indiscretion when other university employees have similarly had inappropriate relationships with student athletes or subordinates and still been allowed to keep their jobs.

”These other University employees (all of whom are white males) have been involved in relationships with students or direct subordinates and have not been subjected to termination, let alone any meaningful disciplinary actions,” the lawsuit states. The petition names UT football defensive coordinator Major Applewhite, other coaches within the Athletic Department, as well as “current and former law school professors, current and former professors within the University’s undergraduate school, and a department chairperson.” As was previously reported, Applewhite had a one-night fling with a student athlete, which he reported to athletic officials. His salary was temporarily frozen but he when on to receive a raise and a promotion.

“The double standard is alive and well at UT Austin,” said McAllen attorney Jody Mask, who with co-counsel Derek Howard of Austin, represents Kearney.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that a “high level administrator within the university’s Athletic Department has carried on a prolonged intimate relationship of approximately three years with a subordinate employee with whom he has direct involvement in setting her pay.”

Kearney, who led the UT women’s track team to six NCAA championships, was lauded for her rebound from a tragic automobile accident Dec. 26, 2002, which killed two of her friends, and left her with a spinal injury that left doctors doubting her ability to walk again.

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