A Hall of Fame track and field coach working for the University of Texas has resigned from her position after admitting to an affair with one of her UT track athletes.
The University of Texas announced Saturday that women's track coach Bev Kearney resigned after admitting to an "intimate consensual relationship" with an athlete, according to CNN. The relationship began more than 10 years ago and ended "at least about eight years ago," according to a statement from the school.
The head of the university's legal affairs department, Patti Ohlendorf, expressed respect for Kearney in a statement to CNN. "However, she made this terrible mistake and used unacceptably poor judgment in having this relationship," she said.
Ohlendorf said school officials do not believe Kearney had intimate relations with any other UT student athletes, according to the Associated Press.
Although the relationship was reportedly consensual, the university "cannot condone such an intimate relationship, including one that is consensual, between a head coach and an [sic] student athlete," Ohlendorf said in a statement to the AP. "We told Coach Kearney such a relationship is unprofessional and crosses the line of trust placed in the head coach for all aspects of the athletic program and the best interests of the student athletes on the team.”
Kearney's decision to resign was linked to an investigation into the affair conducted by UT in the fall, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Kearney revealed that the “adult student-athlete” reported the relationship to UT officials back in October. She said the fallout has been “indescribable" and "difficult."
Kearney's attorney said he believes Kearney has been treated differently from her male counterparts. “We believe that Ms. Kearney has been subjected to a double standard and has received far harsher punishment than that being given to her male counter-parts who have engaged in similar conduct," read a statement sent to the Statesman. “It is a shame that this remarkably talented female African-American coach, who has devoted her life to helping others, is being bullied and scapegoated by the University of Texas.”
Kearney has earned seven NCAA National Championships in her 26 years as a head coach, according to her UT bio. She is also the first African American to serve as a head coach at UT.