The Texas Longhorns are the most valuable football program in all of college football, but their recent conduct, be it athletic or not, isn’t worth one red cent.
The Longhorns have been underperforming on the field and on the recruiting path, but the biggest issue has been with the conduct of their coaches and players.
In the past three seasons Texas has a 22-16 record, which isn’t impressive, and a conference record of 11-15, which is terrible. Add to that a 2013 recruiting class that was rather small and curiously short a running back, and you have reason to feel somewhere between uneasy and cautiously optimistic about the future of the Texas football team. However, when you look at off the field issues, even if only taking the latest two to hit the news into account, and ‘Horns fans can justifiably lose some sleep thinking about the next few years in Austin.
Of course there was the news that co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite had an inappropriate, consensual relationship with a Texas student back in 2009 when the Longhorns were in Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl. When this first started creating buzz I did my research and then appropriately brushed it aside. Applewhite immediately reported it to his superiors and took his punishment, thus closing the case over three years ago. End of story, right? Wrong.
Rumors are swirling around Texas’ campus in Austin that former women’s track coach Bev Kearney, who was fired after her own relationship with a student was brought to light, is building a court case against the university and has a long list of dirty deeds that have taken place in the athletic department at Texas. While the circumstances of Kearney’s offense differ from that of Applewhite’s that doesn’t mean that she has no ground to stand on. The board of regents’ excuse that Kearney was on her way out before the relationship was brought forward feels a little thin, and if recent reports that Applewhite was the only employee besides Kearney to be punished for his misconduct are true, then Texas athletics is in for a shakedown.
Then there is the latest news that Texas wide receiver Cayleb Jones is being charged with aggravated assault for fracturing the jaw of a Longhorn tennis player who was seeing his ex-girlfriend. Jones has been suspended from all football activity until the criminal investigation is completed, which leaves question marks for Texas concerning the third WR slot, but more importantly it shows that players are lacking discipline.
These guys are young, even if they are seniors, and they need guidance as they mature and move through life. They need to be reminded that they are attending one of the top universities in the nation, and the world, for free because of their athletic ability, and that they have a responsibility to represent Texas in a positive way.
Throwing down with the guy who is dating your ex is not a positive representation of UT athletics. Rampant sexual misconduct that, in the vast majority of cases, goes unpunished is not an acceptable picture to be painting. Sex and Violence is a great Stone Temple Pilots jam, but it shouldn’t be the theme song for Texas athletics.
The Texas football program, and the athletic department as a whole, needs to pull itself together. An immediate re-evaluation of the way that the program operates and controls its members, be they students or faculty, must be undertaken. It pains me greatly to say it, but the Texas athletics department is teetering on disaster.
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