Applewhite was disciplined for inappropriate relationship

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas offensive coordinator Major Applewhite acknowledged Friday night that he was disciplined by the university for an inappropriate relationship with a student during the Longhorns’ trip to play in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2008 season.

In separate statements and a document released from Applewhite’s personnel file, Applewhite and athletic director DeLoss Dodds said the former Texas quarterback had his pay frozen in 2009 and was ordered to undergo counseling. Applewhite also was warned that a repeat offense would have more serious consequences.

In his statement, Applewhite, a former Catholic High standout who is married and one of the most popular assistants on Mack Brown’s staff, said he was embarrassed by the incident.

Neither Applewhite or the school released further details.

“It was a one-time occurrence and was a personal matter,” Applewhite said. “Shortly after it occurred, I discussed the situation with DeLoss Dodds. I was upfront and took full responsibility for my actions. This is and was resolved by the university four years ago. Through counsel, I have worked with my wife and the incident is behind us.”

Gene Powell, the chairman of the Texas Board of Regents, and system Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said they learned about the discipline “a short time ago” and their reaction was “great disappointment and sadness.”

“At our direction, the General Counsel to the Board has posted notice of a special called meeting of the Board on Sunday afternoon, February 3rd, so that the Board can be fully briefed on issues related to this matter in executive session,” Powell and Cigarroa said in a joint statement.

Dodds called the incident “inappropriate,” but noted it was also something that happened between consenting adults.

Dodds said the university’s legal office looked in the matter.

“We have high standards for behavior and expect our staff and coaches to adhere to them in all aspects of their lives,” Dodds said. “I believe the appropriate discipline was taken in this case.”

Texas women’s track coach Bev Kearney resigned in January as the school was in the process of firing her for having a relationship with one of her athletes in 2002.

In 2011, the university paid $400,000 to a former administrative assistant who complained of sexual harassment by Cleve Bryant, a former top athletic official in the football program.

Auburn

TOOMER’S OAKS TO BE REMOVED FROM CAMPUS: In Auburn, Ala., officials at Auburn University have announced the iconic oak trees at Toomer’s Corner will be removed.

University officials made the announcement Friday and said in a statement that the trees are unlikely to survive despite efforts to save them after they were poisoned with a powerful herbicide.

University officials say a new landscaping plan will be unveiled and the school will host a block party at Toomer’s Corner on April 20 to give fans a final opportunity to gather near the landmarks.

It’s unclear when the trees will be removed.

Harvey Updyke Jr. is accused of poisoning the trees and is scheduled to go to trial April 8.

The school plans to construct alternative structures for students and fans to gather around after big wins and on other special occasions.

Purdue

ROSS GETS INDEFINITE SUSPENSION: In West Lafayette, Ind., new Purdue coach Darrell Hazell has suspended wide receiver O.J. Ross indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

The school did not say what team rule or rules were violated.

In a statement, the school said it would have no additional comment on the matter.

Ross, who will be a senior next season, finished second on the team with 56 receptions and second in yards receiving with 454 last season.

He also caught two touchdown passes despite missing two games.

He started 10 games as a sophomore, catching 33 passes for 356 yards and three TDs and had three carries for 20 yards.

Ross played in eight games, making four starts, as a freshman, catching 11 passes for 149 yards and one score.

Oregon

AIKEN TO COACH DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: In Eugene, Ore., Oregon has hired Ron Aiken as defensive line coach under new coach Mark Helfrich.

Aiken replaces Jerry Azzinaro, who went with former Oregon coach Chip Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 57-year-old Aiken was the defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals for the past six seasons. Before that, he was the defensive line coach at Iowa for eight seasons.

Oregon announced the hiring of Aiken on Friday.