The 3rd Court of Appeals has ruled that former Texas women's track coach Bev Kearney can proceed with her legal claim that she was discriminated against because her pending dismissal in late 2012 for having a relationship with one of her female student-athletes - 10 years earlier - was different from the way male coaches who did the same thing were disciplined.
"Today, the 3rd Court of Appeals ruled that Beverly Kearney may move forward with her disparate treatment discrimination claim (against Texas)," said Kearney's attorney Jody Mask.
"We have been waiting on this day with anticipation so that we may bring to light how the University of Texas treated Beverly very differently than others who had relationships with students."
The 3rd Court threw out a claim by Kearney that her dismissal was a form of "retaliation" by Texas.
The case now heads back to Travis County district court to be heard after being tied up in the courts for nearly two years while the 3rd Court considered motions by the University of Texas to dismiss the case.
In late 2012, Kearney was informed by UT officials she was going to be let go at Texas after a relationship Kearney had 10 years earlier with a member of the Texas women's track team surfaced. Kearney resigned on Jan. 5, 2013, and filed a discrimination claim, using former Texas assistant football coach Major Applewhite as the basis for her claim.
Applewhite acknowledged to then athletic director DeLoss Dodds that he had been intimate with a graduate student trainer for the Texas football team during a trip to the Fiesta Bowl in January 2009. Applewhite had his salary frozen but was allowed to keep his job.
Kearney admitted to UT officials she had a relationship with one of her female track athletes from 2000 to 2002 and provided her with meals, use of her car and other benefits that would have violated NCAA rules at the time.
But the statute of limitations on such violations had run out by the time the relationship surfaced - 10 years later - in 2012.
Kearney's original lawsuit filed in November 2013 - seeking at least $1 million in damages - alleged several inappropriate relationships within the Texas athletic department went unpunished while she was pushed out.
Her lawsuit threatened to delve into the sex lives of numerous Texas athletic department employees to expose the alleged inappropriate relationships.
Thus far, court filings and arguments by Kearney's attorneys have focused on Applewhite as the basis for her claim. Applewhite is no longer employed at Texas. He's currently the offensive coordinator at Houston.
With the 3rd Court of Appeals ruling, Kearney's discrimination claim can proceed to trial, and it's possible we'll see what smoking guns Kearney and her legal team have as it pertains to her case.
Texas could settle the litigation, although UT officials have shown little interest in that route up to this point.