Fans hook em before the University of Texas v. Oklahoma State University football game on Sat., Nov. 16, 2013 at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman

Football

After academic investigation, Texas quietly making changes in student services

Hastings, former UT softball athlete, now believed to be directing the academic services offered to Texas athletes

Posted February 12th, 2016

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University of Texas coaches are under the working assumption that Kat Richter Hastings now oversees the academic services for athletics, and it’s unclear whether Randa Ryan is still in charge, two UT sources said.

Ryan, an executive senior associate athletic director, has overseen the majority of academic services offered to UT athletes since 2005, according to her bio listed on the university’s website. However, Ryan’s office came under intense criticism after a published report sparked a six-month independent review in 2015 for possible academic misconduct.

A UT spokesman said Ryan has not worked directly with students since early last fall. Those students she worked closely with have been assigned to other staff members.

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Randa Ryan, UT senior associate athletic director, checks on UT basketball player Dexter Pittman at the Dana X. Bible Academic Center in Bellmont in 2007.
Randa Ryan, UT senior associate athletic director, checks on UT basketball player Dexter Pittman at the Dana X. Bible Academic Center in Bellmont in 2007.

However, the school would not answer directly whether Ryan was still responsible for student services or not.

The university hired Alabama attorney Gene Marsh, a former chairman of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions, to foremost examine whether any NCAA violations were committed. The law firm Jackson Lewis P.C. charged UT at least $200,000 to produce a detailed 49-page report that addressed the allegations and reviewed almost every aspect of Ryan’s department.

The report did not include any specific names. Based on the strength of Marsh’s investigation and review, UT was ultimately cleared by NCAA officials of any wrongdoing. The university also released a letter from one NCAA official stating, “There is no need for further inquiry into this matter at this time.”

Still, Marsh’s report made numerous suggestions how academic services can be strengthened. UT President Gregory L. Fenves said he asked the athletic department to implement all the suggestions.

Texas athletic director Mike Perrin issued a statement to the American-Statesman on Friday stating Marsh’s team made 14 proposals for consideration. “We are in the process of that work and will adopt appropriate structures and procedures needed to support our student-athletes most effectively,” Perrin said.

Perrin’s statement made no mention of Ryan specifically. “Due to the timing of the Marsh report, we have restructured duties,” Perrin said. Those within academic services will continue to answer to the athletic director’s office for the remainder of the spring semester, Perrin said.

During an interview with the American-Statesman in January, Fenves did not answer questions about Ryan and how she’s operated her department for more than a decade.

Ryan has not been made available for interviews in more than two years.

While Marsh and his team conducted 83 interviews last fall, Ryan was not on campus. UT officials said previously Ryan was on school-approved sick leave for most of the fall semester.

On Friday, a UT spokesman said Ryan assisted Marsh’s team during the review and continued “drafting procedures” to ensure all 20 varsity sports would follow the same guidelines.  For most of Mack Brown’s tenure, football was managed separately from the rest of the academic support staff.

Ryan also was the subject of an internal review in 2014 after the American-Statesman published a story involving purchases made by UT athletic employees through Ryan’s antique store in Wimberley.

The internal review determined Ryan violated school policies regarding conflict-of-interest and self-dealing issues. She received a letter of reprimand and did not get a 2.75 percent merit-based pay raise for the 2014-15 academic year. At the time, Ryan’s annual compensation package totaled $235,250.

Hastings played softball for the Longhorns from 1997-2001 and began her career in student services in 2002. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and graduated with high honors. Hastings earned her master’s degree in counseling and guidance from Texas State, according to her UT bio.

Hastings did not respond to a message seeking comment.

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