San Antonio Express-News
Feb. 8—An investigation has found that former UTSA defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix violated the university’s policy on inappropriate sexual conduct by making repeated comments about the appearance of a female student trainer.
Nix had been placed on administrative leave in November pending the investigation by the school’s Title IX office. His contract expires this month, and UTSA has said it will not be renewed.
Nix made the comments to the student trainer during a team trip to Provo, Utah, where the Roadrunners played BYU on Oct. 10.
Nix encountered the student trainer in a hotel lobby and commented on the jeans she was wearing, according to a summary of the investigation by the university’s Equal Opportunity Services and Title IX Office. UTSA released the document in response to a public records request.
During a hearing held by videoconference on Dec. 17, Nix said he had told the trainer that “she looked nice in her jeans,” according to the summary. The trainer recalled Nix saying she “looked good in those jeans.”
Nix began using “Jeans” as a nickname for her.
He acknowledged in his testimony that on several occasions over the next month he made comments about the woman’s appearance, including, “Hey girl, when are you going to get those jeans on?” and “When you gonna get those jeans back out?”
The trainer testified at the hearing that “the comments happened regularly.”
The remarks were “unwelcome and found to be objectively offensive to a reasonable person,” according to the hearing officer’s conclusions.
“While Mr. Nix may not have intentionally tried to make (her) feel uncomfortable,” the hearing officer wrote, “(she) expressed feeling uncomfortable due to the comments made by Mr. Nix regarding her jeans throughout the course of this hearing.”
In January, Nix, 48, was placed on “On Notice” status for 12 months. He was ordered to undergo training in discrimination and harassment and to write a “reflective paper on this experience.” It is unclear whether Nix appealed the decision.
In a statement he submitted to the Title IX office before the hearing, Nix said he was “heartbroken that my actions intended as kindness have been misinterpreted to the point of upsetting,” and “heartbroken over the angst this has caused.” He added that he was “sympathetic” to the trainer’s feelings.
“It certainly was never my intent to upset her or make her uncomfortable in any way, and if given the opportunity, I would apologize to her, even though I feel like she has greatly misinterpreted my actions,” Nix wrote.
Nix, who has coached in Division I for 25 years, wrote that he has “never faced an issue like this until I arrived at UTSA.” He said the outcome was “a great price for me to pay” and added that it was “something I will have to address for the rest of my career.”
Regarding the initial encounter in the hotel lobby, Nix wrote that another person who was there “initiated the conversation with me by pointing out that the student trainers were dressed differently than normal.”
“In response, I made a general comment that she looked nice,” Nix wrote. “I absolutely did not comment on how her body looked in the clothing.”
Nix wrote that in the ensuing weeks, he “did sometimes generally comment that (she) looked nice that night not in her typical attire.”
“It would not be uncommon for me to refer back to what I perceived as a friendly interaction with someone as a way to be kind and remember them,” Nix wrote. “But I would never make this type of comment intended in a way to make someone uncomfortable.”
Nix added: “This experience has taught me that I need to be more guarded in today’s environment.”
At least one allegation against Nix and the related findings of fact were redacted from the report. UTSA’s Office of Legal Affairs said the university is prohibited from releasing “portions of the final investigation report related to allegations that were unsubstantiated.”
The initial complaint against Nix was filed Nov. 13. Nix was placed on paid administrative leave that afternoon.
Less than 24 hours later, UTSA kicked off the ninth game of the 2020 football season against UTEP. UTSA announced Nix’s suspension at halftime.
The university’s chief communications officer Joe Izbrand said in a Jan. 28 email that the decision not to renew Nix’s one-year contract “is based on an overall evaluation, which included the outcome of an internal investigation that was initiated in November, as well as other factors.”
Izbrand added that Nix “is not performing any duties related to the team and is not on campus.”
Title IX of the U.S. Higher Education Act guarantees equal access to education for all students and prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any institution that receives federal funding.
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