New University of Texas president Greg Fenvus has claimed that the departure of longtime men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes was unrelated to the allegations of academic fraud against the school.
Fenvus made the claim in a teleconference held earlier this afternoon.
The allegations against Texas come from a report by Brad Wolverton of the Chronicle of Higher Education, who alleged in his story that three Texas basketball players were active despite being academically ineligible. Those three were J’Covan Brown, Martez Walker and P.J. Tucker.
In discussing whether or not Barnes was involved, Fenvus kept his response short and sweet.
“Rick Barnes’ departure had nothing to do with any academic infractions,” Fenvus said.
In all likelihood, Barnes was fired from the university for a few of reasons. First, after 17 years in Austin, it was time for a fresh face. Second, the Longhorns had not made significant progress in the NCAA Tournament since making the Elite Eight back in 2008, with early exits happening almost every year since then.
Most important of all, however, the Big 12 was starting to get more and more competitive with Kansas putting out great teams season after season, not to mention teams like Baylor, Iowa State and Oklahoma continuing to build up their collective presence, and Barnes’ teams just couldn’t keep up.
After an underwhelming 2014-15 campaign and another early tourney exit, the writing was simply on the wall.
Thus, though one would think that Barnes’ firing could have been foreshadowing these allegations becoming public, there is really nothing that ties him to the alleged academic fraud. He was fired because the university needed to go in a different direction. Nothing more, nothing less.
Of course, Campus Sports will update this story if new information becomes available.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports