UT, A&M presidents shed light on renewing football rivalry

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Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

In the years since the last Lone Star Showdown, it seems as if everyone except officials from Texas and Texas A&M has wanted the schools to meet on the gridiron again.

Legislators have proposed bills to renew the annual game. Fans of both schools continue to jaw at each other like quarreling siblings. Even the schools’ fight songs mention each other by name.

So much of the Texas and Texas A&M rivalry intertwines, except for the fact that the two schools don’t meet on the football field anymore — once an annual Thanksgiving tradition. But after athletic director and UT vice president Chris Del Conte took the helm of Texas’ athletics department, there’s been a glimmer of hope to the continuous rumors the two schools will once again play each other.

“It’s a storied rivalry for a hundred years or so,” UT President Gregory Fenves told the Austin American-Statesman on Friday. “We’re supportive (of renewing it) … We’ve told our ADs (athletic directors) to figure out a plan and bring it to us.”

The two schools last met on the football field in 2011, when kicker Justin Tucker hit a 40-yard field goal as time expired at Kyle Field.

Even with both schools now interested in renewing the Showdown, there’s still one roadblock: Their schedules don’t line up. Both schools have nonconference games scheduled through 2029, and a lot of stars would have to align to have a game played before then.

“You have to get the weekend that coincides and works together,” Texas A&M President Michael Young told the Statesman. “It is complicated. Our schedules don’t match very well. They have nonconference games in the beginning; we have ours interspersed more throughout the season. All of this makes it very hard to schedule.”

When an opening arose in Texas’ schedule in 2023, Del Conte contacted Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward about scheduling a game, but Woodward declined. Instead, Texas scheduled a home-and-home with powerhouse Alabama.

With Del Conte’s plan falling through, a game between the two schools would probably be pushed past 2029. And with most nonconference games bound to a contract, it would be too much of a financial obligation for either school to scratch a scheduled game and renew the rivalry in a hurry.

Despite no football games between the two schools since 2011, the excitement of the rivalry is still palpable in other sports. The 2018 NCAA Super Regional in Austin saw the Longhorns down the Aggies to earn a trip to College World Series. The two schools have also met in volleyball and basketball as well.

There’s one thing that’s different this time with rivalry talks renewing: Both sides are interested and want to play again. No matter how long it takes, that should be music to anyone’s ears, and one of college football’s most storied rivalries could become a reality once again.

"At some point, I have to think the contracts will lineup and we'll play," Del Conte told The Dallas Morning News on Aug. 22. "But until then, I have to do what's best for the University of Texas."