Hall to Saban’s Agent: Powers Won’t Last the Year

Hall to Saban's Agent: Powers Won't Last the Year

University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall in January told the agent for Alabama football coach Nick Saban that UT-Austin President Bill Powers would be gone by the end of the year, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to a memo dated September 24 and obtained by the Houston Chronicle and the Texas Tribune, Tom Hicks told his brother and fellow UT regent, Steve Hicks, that Hall suggested to Saban’s agent that Powers would be gone and with him any protection for Mack Brown.

The revelation is the latest in a long-running saga over what roles regents should play, and what the line is between good governance and micromanagement. Hall is currently under investigation by a House transparency committee for possibly crossing that line. Some legislators have said Hall is on a “witch hunt” to oust Powers and is abusing his authority by demanding large volumes of documents, everything from confidential personnel files to Powers’ travel expenses to Post-it notes from his desk. The types of data he has taken, the timelines he has expected for responses, and the process by which he did so as an individual have raised concerns. Hall denies any wrongdoing and says that his investigations have revealed financial impropriety and favoritism in admissions.

The committee investigating Hall and weighing whether to recommend impeaching him or not held two days of hearings in October, and they are gearing up for two more days next week. A member of that committee recently wrote to Rusty Hardin, the lawyer overseeing the investigation, asking that the committee be given access to regents’ computers on the suspicion that certain documents and correspondence that the committee has asked for have not been turned over.

Meanwhile, the new chair of the regents, Paul Foster of El Paso, has signaled an intention to follow through on changes he suggested should be made during his Senate confirmation hearing in May, namely to alter the way the board operates. Foster told his fellow regents two weeks ago that he plans to require them to use official UT email accounts when conducting state business, and to change the policy that presently allows individual regents, like Hall, to demand and get any and all data or documents he wants absent any directive or permission of the full board. The “investigative nature” of such requests, he told senators in May, wasn’t the best.

A spokeswoman for the UT System declined to comment on the memo. The committee investigating Hall holds its next hearings Nov. 12 and 13.

See the full memo below. File photo of Regent Wallace Hall by Matt Valentine.

Hall to Saban’s Agent: Powers Won’t Last the Year


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