What Happened to Texas Athletics?

October 9, 2013 at 8:10a    by DJ Byrnes    
Texas' coach (for now) Mack Brown

From Sports Illustrated:

AUSTIN -- In January 2010, the Texas football team played Alabama in the BCS title game. The Longhorns' men's basketball team began the '09-10 season 17-0 and spent two weeks ranked No. 1. In the spring of '10, the baseball program earned a No. 2 national seed in the NCAA tournament.

Less than four years later, all of those programs have taken precipitous dives from their perches among the national elite. Earlier this fall, BYU and Ole Miss embarrassed Mack Brown's football team, showcasing the failures of the embattled coach's recent program overhauls. The men's basketball team missed the NCAA tournament last March for the first time in 14 seasons, and a flurry of defections have left it staring at the possibility of another lost season. The baseball team didn't reach the NCAA tournament two years ago and failed to qualify for the Big 12 tournament last year.

The recent announcement that longtime athletic director DeLoss Dodds would retire makes it clear that Texas' athletic department is changing. University president William Powers Jr. said in a phone interview on Monday that he expects a new AD will be in place before the end of the football season. That person will soon face decisions regarding the three most prominent remaining members of the athletic department: Brown, basketball coach Rick Barnes and baseball coach Augie Garrido.

"We have had in some major sports over the last two or three years, for us, disappointing seasons," Powers said. "I understand the frustrations of our fans and our campus."

After reading this article, now is a good time to thankful for the continued success of Ohio State athletics. As Texas proves, it can all go to hell-in-a-handbasket pretty quickly.



DMcDougal24's picture

We're so lucky to have Urban Meyer and Thad Matta. What a great time to be a Buckeye

acBuckeye's picture

And to have had Tressel before Urban. Go Bucks!

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

It's pretty clear from the boring parts that Rick Perry is what happened to Texas athletics.

This is not political commentary. Actually read the article if you don't believe it.


Edit - since reading is hard - from the article:

"You have a bunch of guys on the board who have no loyalty to UT," said longtime Texas Monthly political writer Paul Burka. "Their loyalty is to Perry, and that's what they were chosen for. It's just been a catastrophe for UT."

The university president has spent the past two years locked in an ugly battle with governor Rick Perry. Will it be the Board of Regents? Four recent Perry appointees have attempted to oust Powers, giving him little leeway with the nine-person board.

The more recent appointees of governor Perry are his political and financial allies. Perry, a Texas A&M graduate and hands-on Aggies super fan, has openly clashed with Powers about such issues as reduced tuition and increased enrollment.

"A lot of it is a very strange situation," said the high-ranking Texas official. "The governor is a dyed-in-the-wool Aggie; he was a yell leader for A&M. If Texas is having problems, it's not anything that he stays up at night worrying about."

AndyVance's picture

So we're making the quantum leap that four Perry appointees have completely derailed Mack Brown's recruiting in the most fertile recruiting ground in the nation, not to mention game management and player development? Color me skeptical...
(That said, the political parts of the story are quite interesting, and do paint an ugly picture of what's going on behind the scenes at one of the nation's largest universities.)

Oyster's picture

I agree.  The Governor has too much to do every day to be hatching a sinister plan to ruin an athletic program.   

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

I don't think it's a quantum leap at all.  It's Texas, man.

If you don't believe it, educate yourself on Bill Clements, the former governor of Texas who worked directly with the SMU board to continue secretly paying players even with the NCAA up its ass.

You don't think Perry has a hard-on for UT? He absolutely does. Texas politicians have not been above this historically and they definitely aren't now.

Oyster's picture

What is your definition of 'Historically'?  If it is only the example you gave with SMU and the conspiracy theory planted in the article concerning Perry, I wouldn't call that historically.  I call that one incident and a weak attempt to blame Perry for the shortcomings of UT right now.  If you have more examples of meddling by top officials in government, I would probably change my mind.

AndyVance's picture

"The plural of anecdote is not data."

gwalther's picture

Really man? That's what you're keying on as the primary reason texas football is down?
The part of the article that talks about there being a "spoiled mentality" and "country club atmosphere" holds much more weight to me. I'm a native Texan, I went to law school in Texas with their alums, and, just being honest, those descriptions applied to some of their alumni and their alumni's thinking about the program. It was almost, "why should we even play? We're texas so we're going to win. I mean, we're inherently better." 
If the program did have a spoiled mentality, that would be reflected in, I dunno, not having as hungry of staff or players, not focusing on preparing for football games and grinding hard on conditioning, etc. But no, it's probably primarily Rick Perry's fault. 

Class of 2008

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

I agree with the entitlement being extremely damaging. And I stand by Perry's meddling.

AndyVance's picture

FWIW Ramzy, while I'm not necessarily buying into Perry being a key factor in Texas' recent ineptitude on the field, I would be highly pissed if a U of M grad was suddenly making appointments to our Board of Trustees, so I get the Longhorns/Aggies "conflict of interest," so to speak.

40 Degrees North's picture

Governor Perry certainly has beefs with the President at UT, Bill Powers. It has mostly centered around the cost of higher education and the Governor 's $10K degree proposal. Certainly, there has been debate all over the country about costs and higher education.
Ramzy, you forgot another recent story with Texas politicians and the schools down there: the formation of the Big 12. Four schools in Texas joined the conference. The most controversial pick was Baylor. Baylor had major pull at the time with the Governor, Ann Richards, and the Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock. Inside baseball: the Lieutenant Governor is probably more powerful in Texas than the Governor. The LG is the President of the Senate and can kill any legislation. Ask anyone who worked with Bullock, he knew how to get things done. 

DJ Byrnes's picture

That's because Rick Perry is an Aggie til he dies:

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

FitzBuck's picture

A former A&M "yell leader" appointing people to the board that have no ties to Texas will destabilize the university from the top down.  Perry must hate Texas more than I hate UM because I wouldn't try to harm UM. 

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

Oyster's picture

You need to work on your hate more.  Nurture it, embrace it.

AndyVance's picture

It's worth noting that of the 18 members of the Ohio State University Board of Trustees - not counting the two current students appointed to the board (one undergrad and one grad/professional) - only 6 received either an undergraduate or graduate degree from our University.

FitzBuck's picture

If any of them have ties to UM we must act.  (Thanks Andy that does put things in perspective). 

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

AndyVance's picture

Fitz - here's the breakdown:

  • Schottenstein - Indiana and Capital Law
  • Brass - Youngstown State and OSU
  • Ratner - Brandeis and UCLA
  • Marbley - North Carolina and Northwestern
  • Kass - Penn and OSU
  • Reid - Howard University
  • Jurgensen - Creighton University
  • Wadsworth - Sheffield University (England)
  • Clark Kellogg - OSU, baby!
  • Smucker - Wooster, Penn/Wharton
  • Shumate - Ohio Weslyan and Akron
  • Krueger - Bowling Green and Capital
  • Gasser - Ohio Northern
  • Porteus - OSU
  • Cloyd - OSU
  • Price - OSU

So there you go - the more recent additions to the board have OSU degrees, and you can't argue with the quality of the Board in terms of being a "who's who" of business elite. The CEOs of Nationwide Insurance, Smuckers, Cheryl's Cookies, etc., lend our Board a pretty amazing set of friends and leaders.
And thankfully, no one from That School Up North (but from plenty of other in-state and B1G schools, though).

40 Degrees North's picture

There have been political appointees on the Board at OSU for years. The one big mistake they made was expanding the Board. This also allowed for former members of the Board to come back. I think the number on the old board was fine and that it is always good to give a new person a shot to be on the Board. 

AndyVance's picture

Haven't they always been political appointments? Or, aren't they all currently political appointments, aside from the student representatives?

Oyster's picture

So what you are saying is that we can blame Kasich for not blowing out NU and Wisky these last 2 weeks.  It all is starting to make sense now.

AndyVance's picture

That bastard!
(NOTE the use of sarcasm font - just an attempt at being amusing.)

Oyster's picture

(good sarcasm does not require a font, they either get it or they don't)

AndyVance's picture

(good sarcasm does not require a font, they either get it or they don't)

Who said I was any good at it?

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Aaaaaand this is what you would call a "quantum leap." (I get you're being sarcastic)


FitzBuck's picture

One last comment
"Rick Peeeeerrrry".
"Dude we agreed no more political psychouts".   

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

JLP36's picture

Giving up over 500 yards rushing in a single game indicates that the front 7 may be more of a concern than the governor. 
There are a hell of a lot of kids in Texas who can play ball and a lot of them probably don't even know who the governor is.  Fewer yet care. 
I think it is more likely that UT athletes have grown a little soft from being too pampered and partying too much. 


BuckeyeChief's picture

Can we use the title "What happens if the officials end the Big 12 Championship correctly and not screw over Nebraska" instead?


"Damn I miss El Guapo"

ToledoBuckeye's picture

That game was the best performance I have ever seen from a Defensive Lineman.  Suh was unstoppable.  I thought he should have won the Heisman that year.

"Anything easy ain't worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

Texas Buckeye's picture

The biggest thing that struck me about this article was that it confirmed my thought that the culture of the athletic department as a whole needs a shakeup. The good-old-boy network has run deep into the university and now even Bill Powers (UT President) is fighting for his job. Texas is like Ohio State in terms of athletic resources, except they have more people living in state. I agree with Ramzy on the fact that Rick Perry's influence on UT has had a major impact on the university as a whole.
Anytime I read something about UT, it always feels a bit weird given that I was 98% committed to going there during my senior year of high school. That being said, I'm glad I made the decision to leave Texas and become a Buckeye. It's the best decision I've made so far in my life.

It's true... We really are a bunch of nuts!
Go Bucks!

You can't spell chump without UM's picture

I've been saying it for a while now, Mack Brown is the most overrated coach in College Football. He has all the football talent in the world down there and has 1 National Title to show for it. His team almost never won the Big 12 because his teams almost always get destroyed by Oklahoma. If Texas is smart enough to hire a good coach they'll become relevant again within 2 years.

Brady Hoke ate my comment

Buckeyeneer's picture

Texas is smart enough to hire a good coach they'll become relevant again within 2 years.

Jingle your keys to distract them when they come sniffing around Tom Herman.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

Maestro's picture

I am always confused by the attitude that Texas is supposed to just crank out national title contenders year after year in football.  Probably coincides with the fact that for the 15 years that I lived in Texas they weren't much more than a regional bully.

vacuuming sucks

elitesmithie's picture

Its probably due to the immense talent in the state. Theoretically you would never have to leave the state to recruit. Imagine Ohio having twice the population. Would we ever need to leave to recruit outside of a few prospects a year?

Maestro's picture

Imagine Ohio with 4 more BCS conference teams in its borders, and OU just 100 miles north.
As a kid growing up in the state in the 80's/early 90's I always thought of Texas as a baseball school.
Texas has pretty much been an annual disappointment on the football field for my entire life so I have just come to expect them to disappoint I guess.

vacuuming sucks

40 Degrees North's picture

I know folks are looking at the Perry factor here. I don't think it's the case with athletics, but other aspects with academics and money, you have a case.
There are factors that far outweigh here in relation to athletics:
1. DeLoss Dodds has been there for a long time. He's nearing 80. Sometimes that can be a bad recipe. New leadership in the department can change things. That's what Texas needs to do.
2. Texas has a number, in quantity and quality , of athletic competitors close to them. I'm not just talking about the in-state schools. You have Oklahoma, T. Boone U., Arkansas, and LSU right on the doorstep. 
3. I remember John Coopers quote about ten years at an institution makes it tougher to coach. Well, Brown, Barnes, and Garrido have been there a long time. 
4. The money factor: yes, Texas has a bunch of rich donors. That means a lot of money. It also means more people wanting to have a say. Sometimes, that causes more problems.

MN Buckeye's picture

I think part of the problem with the Texas situation is that they only have nine board members. That is a lot of power per person, certainly compared with the OSU board. A slightly larger board is an advantage, in my mind, to dilute the partisan effect of appointees and to incorporate a broader range of perspectives.

Grayskullsession's picture

What Happened to Texas Athletics?


My guess is a mixture of lowered expectations and cheap bourbon.

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."