Texas announces independent review of academics; Rick Barnes not linked

Texas is wasting little time digging in and investigating possible academic deceit. (USATSI)

The University of Texas has become the most recent example of possible academic impropriety in major college athletics.

A week removed from a report by the Chronicle of Higher Education that alleges multiple incidents of cheating by former Texas basketball players, Texas president Gregory L. Fenves has announced a “complete and independent review” of the allegations and the culture of “academic guidance and resources” at the university.

This announcement/inquiry runs parallel to an ongoing review that’s been in the works at the university in recent months.

It’s a fast move for Fenves, who officially became school president just two weeks ago. A man named Gene Marsh will head up the probe and report, which the school will announce and detail publicly once it is completed. Marsh works for Jackson Lewis PC in Birmingham, Ala., a firm that has a record of working with college athletics for two decades.

Marsh was also part of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions board from 1999-2008, acting as chair of the board for two years during that span.

“This top-to-bottom review will help me fully understand all aspects of the academic mission of our Athletics program,” Fenves said in a statement.

The report will envelop every facet of current and former UT student-athletes’ time and trails at the school. That includes: “admissions, academic advising and tutorial assistance, choices of majors and coursework, interactions among athletics employees and university faculty members, officials in such areas as financial aid and the registrar’s office, and the deans of student affairs in individual colleges at UT Austin, the history of Athletics’ Student Services, which has been merged into one office during the past decade, any specific incidents of concern that arise, and consistency with national best practices and NCAA requirements.”

There is no timetable for the review and its completion.

On a teleconference with the media Tuesday, Fenves said former Texas coach Rick Barnes is not connected with the allegations, and his firing in March was not in any way related to academic performance or lack thereof.

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