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The Brief: Sept. 16, 2015

Steve Patterson's tenure as athletics director at the University of Texas at Austin ended on Tuesday, just a couple of months shy of two years on the job.

UT Athletic Director Steve Patterson waiting to go onstage at TribLive on May 15, 2014.

The Big Conversation

Steve Patterson's tenure as athletics director at the University of Texas at Austin ended on Tuesday, just a couple of months shy of two years on the job.

As the Tribune's Matthew Watkins reported, Patterson's contract ran through August 2019 and called for him to be paid $1.4 million annually plus raises and benefits. Significantly, no buyout clause was included in the contract. News surfaced on Tuesday of a negotiated deal between Patterson and the university, the details of which were not immediately released.

Watkins noted that Patterson is just the latest high-profile athletics figure at UT-Austin to leave with the university still on the hook for payment.

"At the end of the 2013 football season, longtime coach Mack Brown was shown the door. The school eventually agreed to pay him a $2.75 million buyout and give him a one-year job as special assistant to the president. That job paid $500,000," Watkins wrote. "Under Patterson, longtime basketball coach Rick Barnes was forced to resign. The school said this spring that it would pay him $1.75 million."

Meanwhile, the Austin American-Statesman's Brian Davis and Kirk Bohls supplied the countdown to Patterson's departure from the first inklings that appeared in mid-July. In the end, Patterson appears to have been done in by his people skills. Davis and Bohls wrote:

He angered football season ticket holders by raising prices an average of 6 percent across the board. Parking also cost extra instead of being folded into the Longhorn Foundation donation, as it had for years. Basketball season ticket holders were stunned to see a 7 percent average increase.

Patterson also implemented a stiff ticket resale policy. Under the new rules, season ticket holders cannot sell their tickets on the secondary market if they have the grandfathered Longhorn Foundation donation, which is typically a lower amount than what’s required for new buyers.

He alienated athletic department employees with a cool demeanor that was a direct opposite of [former AD DeLoss] Dodds’ down-home ways ... Eventually, public perception so turned against Patterson, he was getting blamed for things he didn’t even do.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Trib Must-Reads

Cruz Has Little to Gain by Entering Fray in Debate, by Abby Livingston – The biggest question ahead of Wednesday night’s GOP debate may be how many times candidates on stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library will violate the 40th president's mantra: "Though shalt not speak ill of any Republican." 

Union Chief: Send 5,000 More Border Patrol Agents, by Julián Aguilar – Outgunned and outmanned, the U.S. needs at least 5,000 more agents on the southern border, according to the chief of the Border Patrol Union. But civil rights groups fear a hiring surge could lead to less oversight and more abuse by federal agents. 

Rangers: Stickland Staffers Falsely Signed Up Witnesses, by Aman Batheja – A Texas Rangers investigation released Tuesday found that the staff of state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, filled out witness registration forms for people who were not in the Capitol but that no one committed any prosecutable offenses.

Analysis: In This Case, Perry's Blame is Misplaced, by Ross Ramsey – Rick Perry is starting to offer his own autopsy report on the death of his latest presidential campaign, hoping to pin that outcome on somebody else. But the preponderance of the evidence points to the former governor himself.

Texas A&M to Open Satellite Campus Near McAllen, by Matthew Watkins – Texas A&M University on Tuesday announced plans to open a satellite campus near McAllen that will offer students the chance to earn degrees from A&M's main campus in College Station without leaving the Rio Grande Valley.

District Attorney Hopeful Criticizes Prosecution Deal, by Jay Root and Tony Plohetski, Austin American-Statesman – Gary Cobb, a candidate for Travis County district attorney, vowed to seek changes to the unusual deal allowing a giant insurance company to pay for fraud prosecutions, as highlighted in a series of reports by The Texas Tribune and Austin American-Statesman.

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The Day Ahead

•    Following Tuesday's news of Athletics Director Steve Patterson's exit, the University of Texas at Austin will host an 11 a.m. press conference to introduce the new interim athletics director, Mike Perrin.

•    Gov. Greg Abbott heads to McAllen, the first stop in his nine-city tour of Texas, to speak on the 84th legislative session's triumphs and to share his goals for the future.

Elsewhere

Over Ken Paxton’s objection, judge OKs gay marriage settlement, Austin American-Statesman

Jonathan Stickland avoids prosecution for alleged rules violation Austin American-Statesman

Jade Helm exercise comes to an end, Houston Chronicle

Lawmakers address jail suicides, San Antonio Express-News

After years of admiration, Ted Cruz imagines a Supreme Court without John Roberts, The Dallas Morning News

Hillary Clinton in Dallas Tuesday for fundraiser, scraps public event, The Dallas Morning News

Jeb's Super PAC kicks off $24-million TV campaign to introduce the candidate, Tampa Bay Times

White House opposes GOP bill to lift oil export ban, The Associated Press

Quote to Note

"I'm fighting some very nice people, but they're never going to do anything with these countries. They're never going to be able to do it. It's an instinct. It's something that's special. They don't have it."

— GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on his ability to handle international affairs compared to his fellow candidates

News From Home

•    Tune in for a live video recording of The Ticket, our 2016 presidential politics podcast, with the Tribune's Jay Root, KUT 90.5's Ben Philpott and special guest Jennifer Rubin, writer for The Washington Post's Right Turn blog. The event takes place at Google Fiber Space in downtown Austin. Doors open at 6 with the recording to start at 6:25 p.m.

•    Check out our latest reporting collaboration, a seven-part series done in partnership with the Beaumont Enterprise on the "Road From Rita." Here's the first installment:

Ten years after the arrival of Hurricane Rita fed a traffic nightmare amid an exodus of more than 3 million people from South and Southeast, state and local officials they are prepared to avoid a similar catastrophe, but others aren't so sure.

Today in TribTalk

Appraisal lawsuit about fairness, not revenue, by Steve Adler – No one likes to pay taxes. But since we’re going to pay them, we have a right to insist they’re fair.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation with UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves on Sept. 21 in Austin

•    A Conversation on The Road from Hurricane Rita on Sept. 22 in Beaumont

•    A Conversation on The Environment: The Next Five Years on Sept. 28 in Corpus Christi

•    A Conversation on God & Governing on Oct. 7 in Austin

•    The Texas Tribune Festival on Oct. 16-18 at the University of Texas at Austin

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