The University of Texas has a huge problem on its hands as hundreds of Texas alumni are effectively threatening to stop donations, cancel their season tickets, as well as boycott games if the school didn’t fully back the controversial song, “The Eyes of Texas,” emails obtained by the Texas Tribune show.
These messages came about after quarterback Sam Ehlinger and a few of his teammates were the only ones to remain on the field for the traditional postgame playing of the song before an October game against Oklahoma.
“My wife and I have given an endowment in excess of $1 million to athletics,” a donor wrote in an email to UT-Austin president Jay Hartzell in October, via the Tribune. “Has everyone become oblivious who supports athletics??”
The song has been viewed as racist because of its links to Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee.
A few of their emails, via the Tribune:
“It is disgraceful to see the lack of unity and our fiercest competitor Sam E[h]linger standing nearly alone,” wrote one graduate whose name was also redacted by the university to protect the identity of a donor. “It is symbolic of the disarray of this football program which you inherited. The critical race theory garbage that has been embraced by the football program and the university is doing massive irreparable damage.”
“It’s time for you to put the foot down and make it perfectly clear that the heritage of Texas will not be lost,” wrote another donor who graduated in 1986. Their name was also redacted by UT-Austin. “It is sad that it is offending the blacks. As I said before the blacks are free and it’s time for them to move on to another state where everything is in their favor.”
From June to late October, over 70% of the nearly 300 people who emailed Hartzell’s office about “The Eyes” demanded the school keep playing it, according to the report.
“The Eyes of Texas is non-negotiable,” wrote another graduate who said they’ve had season tickets since 1990 and whose name was redacted by the university. “If it is not kept and fully embraced, I will not be donating any additional money to athletics or the university or attending any events.”
Texas hired Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian as its new head coach in January and he made it clear that the song is not going anywhere.
“I know this much, ‘The Eyes of Texas’ is our school song,” Sarkisian said. “We support that song. We’re going to sing that song, we’re going to sing it proudly.”
He added later, “we’re fired up to sing it.”
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