University of Houston head football coach Major Applewhite has a nearly identical Title IX clause in his contract to what was included in Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer’s contract extension.
That specific language is at the center of the Ohio State investigation surrounding Meyer. Failure to report possible Title IX violations by one of his assistants could be what ultimately implicates Meyer.
According to Applewhite’s contract obtained by The Sport Lobby through open records requests with the school, failure to “promptly report to the University’s Title IX coordinator any known violations of the UH System Sexual Misconduct Policy” could result in a variety of penalties including suspension without pay or termination.
From his contract:
Coach shall not… Fail to promptly report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator any known violations of the UH System Sexual Misconduct Policy (including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence, and stalking) that involve any student, faculty, or staff, or that is in connection with a university-sponsored event. Any emergency situation should immediately be reported to 911 and/or law enforcement. For purposes of this Section 4.2.8, a “known violation” shall mean a violation or an allegation of a violation of Title IX that Coach is aware of or has reasonable cause to believe is taking place or may have taken place;
Applewhite became the UH head coach in December 2016 after his predecessor Tom Herman was hired by the University of Texas at Austin.
The inclusion is likely a part of a growing trend in college athletics to include specific Title IX reporting rules stemming from the Baylor scandal of the mid-2010’s.
“I would expect that within the next two or three years that every coach within a Power 5 school has [a Title IX provisions] in their contracts,” said sports attorney Robert Lattinville who represents a number of NCAA clients and collaborates with USA Today annually to generate the seminal survey of compensation and employment trends for college coaches and athletics directors.
Herman did not have specific Title IX reporting provisions in his contract when he was with the University of Houston.
Current members of the Houston coaching staff have been associated with Title IX investigations in previous positions.
Current UH Offensive Coordinator Kendal Briles, son of ousted former Baylor football coach Art Briles, was named in a lawsuit while on the football staff at Baylor. The younger Briles is quoted in the lawsuit for asking a recruit: “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.” The suit was settled last September.
Houston offensive line coach Randy Clements was also an assistant on the Baylor staff during that period.
According to the Washington Post, Houston officials have a morality clause in Briles and Clements contracts that allows the school to terminate employment if any past misconduct comes to light.
“Our expectations and values are clear,” UH President Renu Khator told the Houston Chronicle at the time of his hire. “We want to make sure our [football] program is winning but absolutely to the best ethical standards. I’m convinced that’s what is going to happen.”
With Applewhite’s Title IX provision mimicking Meyers, the Cougars off-the-field conduct will remain just as scrutinized as its on-field performance.