September 9, 2019
Dear UT Community,
Earlier this year, federal law enforcement exposed an athletics admissions scandal involving coaches and administrators at eight universities, including UT Austin. The scandal undermined the public’s trust and provoked outrage. At UT, we are holding ourselves accountable and improving protocols across Texas Athletics.
The federal investigation showed that in 2015, then-UT Men’s Tennis Coach Michael Center accepted a bribe as part of the student-athlete admissions process. Mr. Center was terminated from his position with the university a day after the federal charges were filed and later pleaded guilty.
Soon after the facts of the case became public, I tasked Jim Davis, UT’s vice president for legal affairs, with leading a legal review to find out what happened, evaluate whether any other student-athletes were fraudulently admitted and recommend controls to protect the integrity of the admissions process for student-athletes. His legal team’s efforts included numerous interviews with UT staff members and an analysis of the admission and athletics participation of more than 800 student-athletes over an 18-year period.
The legal review is now complete, and we can report that no other student-athletes were found to have been improperly admitted to UT beyond the facts identified in the legal filings against Mr. Center. To prevent any recurrence, we will be implementing recommendations designed to close the identified vulnerabilities in the student-athlete admissions process. This will require us to set clearer standards for measuring athletic legitimacy, while improving procedures throughout Texas Athletics.
The details of the legal review contain information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and are confidential. However, an executive summary is now available.
The University of Texas at Austin thrives because of our commitment to our ethics and core values. When we come up short, it is critical that we acknowledge mistakes and work swiftly to improve. That’s the only way we can maintain the trust and commitment of the society we were founded to serve.
Gregory L. Fenves