Frustrated after watching another weekend of Texas rivalry pass quietly, a state legislator believes it is time for the Legislature to intervene to demand that the University of Texas and the University of Texas A & M return to soccer once a year for the Thanksgiving.
State Rep. Lyle Larson, a San Antonio Republican and A & M graduate, introduced a bill on Tuesday to require schools to meet at the soccer field on the fourth Thursday, Friday or Saturday in November.
"There is a big hole in the weekend of rivalry, and that is that A & M and Texas do not play with each other," Larson said. "I think we're depriving the generations if we do not restore this."
Larson may not realize that Texas tried to reprogram A & M, but the Aggies said no, thank you. UT athletic director Chris Del Conte approached his A & M counterpart Scott Woodward and volunteered to play in 2022-23.
Woodward said that A & M was already booked. So Del Conte signed a home and home agreement to play in Alabama.
The Longhorns-Aggies game was an annual event for almost 100 years before the final game was played in 2011, a 27-25 victory for UT in a last-second field goal, but the match ended when A & M moved to the Southeast Conference in 2012..
Larson said he grew up eating the Thanksgiving dinner early to be able to drive to Austin or College Station to watch the game with his father (class A & M of 1956) and his brother, who broke some family hearts when he decided to become Longhorn because I wanted to play for coach Darrell Royal at UT. Mark Larson played as a linebacker in the early seventies.
"It was tantamount to deserting the Soviet Union," Larson recalled, adding that he and his brother still have frequent discussions about the merits of the chosen schools.
That's the kind of intensity he's been losing in Texas since the annual game was canceled, and Larson said he expects his bill to pressure school leaders to renew what he calls "one of the greatest rivalries in history." of college football. "
"It's just an obstacle for both schools to say it's time for us to stop thinking, these two schools must play with each other, they're embedded in each other's fight songs." This game is a big part of Texas soccer folklore. ", He said.
And if an agreement is not reached, the Legislature could be ready to act.
"If you put them in for egos, if you do not want to recognize the legacy of this rivalry, the Legislature, we have many projects to deal with, but this can be one of the most fun." "We will have a solid discussion on whether this should be part of the legislative process, but many people are tired of this game not being played," Larson said.
Unlike a similar bill that did not get anywhere in 2013, Larson believes his idea can succeed during the 140-day legislative session that begins in January. Within hours of presenting House Bill 412, Larson said he had listened to more than half a dozen members of the House from both sides who wanted to add their names to the legislation.
"If there is a will to do so, we can restart this rivalry in 2019," Larson said.
As an additional incentive, if the UT-A & M game is not scheduled, the Larson bill would deprive both schools of soccer scholarships that receive money from the state.
"I think we're losing one of the purposes of college sports: so that people can enjoy it and have fun with it." And there's nothing more entertaining in the state of Texas than watching an A & M football game and the University of Texas, "he said.