UT pays $600,000 to settle Kearney discrimination lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The University of Texas agreed to pay $600,000 to settle former women’s track coach Bev Kearney’s race and gender discrimination lawsuit, according to documents released Monday.

Kearney and the school agreed to settle her nearly five-year-old lawsuit in June. Terms were released following public records requests from The Associated Press and other media outlets.

Kearney will receive about $277,450 with the rest going to her attorneys.

Kearney was forced out of her job in 2013 after the school learned she had a relationship with an athlete a decade earlier. Kearney, who is black, had claimed she was treated differently than former Texas assistant football coach Major Applewhite, who was allowed to keep his job and was later promoted after the school learned he had a relationship with a student trainer on a bowl trip. Applewhite is now the head coach at Houston.

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The settlement stipulates the money will be paid by the Texas athletic department. It also requires the two sides to make no comment beyond acknowledging the settlement was reached.

Kearney’s original lawsuit sought at least $1 million and financial records previously reviewed by the AP showed the university had spent more than $500,000 defending the case.

The deal keeps confidential any records or testimony collected in the case, including depositions from Applewhite, former Texas football coach Mack Brown, former school President Bill Powers, former athletic director DeLoss Dodds as well current and former employees in the office that investigates sexual harassment and assault.

Kearney won six national championships (three indoor, three outdoor) while at Texas. School officials have previously said they were justified in removing her after 20 years with the Longhorns because the relationship with one of her athletes “crossed a line.”

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Her lawsuit argued the school had been much softer with its discipline of Applewhite for his behavior with the student trainer on the trip to the Fiesta Bowl after the 2008 season. Applewhite, a popular former Longhorns quarterback, was ordered to undergo counseling but stayed on staff until Brown was forced out after the 2013 season.

Kearney was one of the most successful women’s track coaches in the country and was considered for a significant raise in 2012 until the 2002 relationship with one of her runners was reported to school officials. She now lives in California.

Kearney’s lawyers had questioned why the school publicly announced Kearney’s discipline, but Applewhite’s incident, which school officials called consensual, didn’t surface until nearly five years later when the Daily Texan student newspaper filed a public records request for his personnel file. University regents said they didn’t know about the Applewhite incident until 2013.