The Texas Longhorns and defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn have parted ways, the school announced Thursday, according to Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News.
Bobby Burton of 247Sports speculated that Vaughn’s departure likely stemmed from his involvement in the recruiting violations the NCAA recently filed against the Ole Miss Rebels, where he coached from 2008 to 2011.
Head coach Charlie Strong issued a statement and loosely alluded to Vaughn’s allegations.
“Chris did a tremendous job for us,” he said, per Finger. “He’s a terrific football coach and a great person. However, circumstances have put us in a position that we are going to part ways.”
The NCAA cited Ole Miss for 28 violations, with nearly half (13) involving the football program, according to David Brandt of the Associated Press. Four of those 13 were allegedly committed by former head coach Houston Nutt's staff between 2008 and 2011, per ESPN.com.
Vaughn was the Rebels’ recruiting coordinator during that period, and Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman reported the evidence against the defensive backs coach is damning:
Two Texas sources confirm that Chris Vaughn is being let go because of Ole Miss situation. NCAA has a "thick file" on Vaughn, source says.— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) February 12, 2016
Vaughn joined the staff in Austin when Texas hired Strong in 2014, and he became instrumental in Strong's first three recruiting classes, which ranked 16th, 10th and 11th in the 247Sports composite rankings.
The website named Vaughn the No. 8 recruiter in 2015.
Davis reported Texas doesn’t believe Vaughn committed any rules violations with the Longhorns, adding that the “issues are all Ole Miss-related."
The timing comes at a good juncture for Texas, which initially signed Vaughn to a two-year contract with an option for a third. The school and Vaughn expect to reach a settlement, per Burton.
Vaughn may have been a worthy asset on the recruiting trail, but all that would be a waste if Texas were to receive any sanctions. And after compiling an 11-14 record in his first two seasons—below the Longhorns' standards—Strong likely wouldn’t be able to survive an NCAA investigation into one of his staffers.