• Longhorn defense prepares for potent Baylor offense

    Bedford excited to test defense against Baylor

    Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said Wednesday he has “no clue” how to contain No. 12 Baylor’s top-ranked scoring offense. But he’s still excited to test his defense against the Bears’ high-powered attack.

    “I’m looking forward to it – I know that sounds crazy,” Bedford said. “If you don’t like a challenge, why would you want to play? I love playing the Baylors, TCUs and Oklahomas of the world. … It’s a great opportunity.”

    Bedford said Baylor’s offensive success stems from its physicality. He emphasized the Bears’ reputation of an explosive air attack, which overshadows their efficient run game — No. 4 in yards per game.

    “People say they’re a passing team, but they run the ball on everybody,” Bedford said. “Most people in this conference don’t do that – [it’s] a physical brand of football. And then they [can] throw it over your head too.”

    Longhorns search for more big plays on defense

    Texas ranks No. 24 in the nation in turnover margin, but Bedford believes the Longhorns must make more big plays to have a chance against Baylor. 

    “Defense starts with big hits and takeaways, and we haven’t had many on the road,” Bedford said. “Whether it’s a quarterback sack, pressure, we get an interception or whatever that may be – we need to find a way to do those things.”

    Bedford said big plays do more than just help the team in the short term. He emphasized that defenses can energize the team for the rest of the game with a turnover or big hit. The defense hopes to channel that energy with big plays on Saturday.

    “When you play good defense you bring excitement to the team,” Bedford said. “When you get big hits and takeaways on defense I think the team gets excited [and] the fans get excited. We’re lacking in those areas at this time.”  

  • Update: Fenves removes Perrin's interim tag

    Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

    Update (2:32 p.m.): Mike Perrin has been named the men’s athletic director through 2017-2018, UT President Greg Fenves said.  

    The Austin American-Statesman reported a high-ranking UT source confirmed to them late Wednesday night that Fenves would extend Perrin’s contract as athletic director by two years. Horns247 first reported Wednesday that Fenves was “strongly considering” extening Perrin’s contract. 

    Thursday, the University sealed the deal. Fenves said he's confident Perrin will bring "positive change and pride" to the athletics department. 

    “His experiences as a student-athlete and a successful lawyer and businessman have given him unique insight that complements his strong leadership,”  Fenves said. “I am confident Mike will continue bringing positive change and pride to our Men’s Athletics Department.”

    Perrin was hired in September as the interim athletic director after Steve Patterson and Texas parted ways. Fenves initially hired Perrin to a one-year contract worth $750,000 following Patterson’s resignation after 22 months as AD.

    Perrin lettered as a linebacker under legendary Texas coach Darrell K Royal in the 1960s. Prior to his interim appointment, he practiced law in Houston. He joined women's AD Chris Plonsky to close a record-breaking $250 million deal with Nike in October.

    “I am excited to continue the work I’ve begun over the past three months in moving Texas Sports forward, and I thank President Fenves for this opportunity,” Perrin said. “I am already working closely with coaches in all sports to provide the support they need to win on the field and prepare their students for life off the field. And I have been humbled and overwhelmed by the backing I’ve received from alumni, faculty and fans.”

    Additional reporting by Akshay Mirchandani

  • Texas 2016 football schedule announced

    Texas’ 2016 football schedule was released Tuesday with the Longhorns opening the 2016 slate against Notre Dame on Sept. 3. The game will be played at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

    Following two more out-of-conference matchups with UTEP and California, the Longhorns will start Big 12 play Oct. 1 against Oklahoma State. Texas will have few breaks throughout the 2016 season, as it will not have a bye week throughout the entirety of conference play. Starting with the battle against Oklahoma State, the Longhorns will play in nine consecutive weeks. Their regular season calendar ends Nov. 24 when they face TCU at home.

    See the full schedule here.

  • Column: Sports should not be divided by gender

    Although I played Little League baseball on an all-boys team, no one would have expected me to continue playing with men through my career. Instead, I was relegated to softball. The problem does not necessarily lie with not being allowed to “play with the boys.” Rather, the issue is with segregation itself.

    The NCAA, through Title IX law, forces its universities’ athletics programs to allocate equal funds to both men’s and women’s sports. Although equality is undoubtedly a good thing, the “separate but equal” ideology enables discrimination.

    The idea that sports should be segregated is a sentiment that is treated as fact despite being an arbitrary feature of the sports world we’ve created.

    Having men and women play in different sports leagues is done to guarantee fairness because men are generally considered to be stronger, faster and taller than women, so women need their own leagues to compete against equal competition.

    Indeed, the integrity of sport is based on an even playing field. However, attempting to divide human beings into two distinct boxes fails because humanity is more complex and chaotic than any category could give it credit for.

    The sports world assumes that male and female are as easy to understand as wins and losses. Unfortunately, this classification ignores the fluidity of human biology. Medical science, through the existence of intersex individuals, acknowledges the anatomical and chromosomal variations that exist in human nature. Instead of a simple, two-sex system, sex can be thought of as a spectrum.

    This is not to say the NCAA hasn’t done its part to include a wider range of student-athletes. For example, the NCAA’s office of inclusion released a comprehensive guide that clarifies the nuances of gender, scientific considerations and supplies recommended measures for transgender athlete integration.

    The best way to fully acknowledge sex as a spectrum within the college sports world is to completely eliminate sex-based segregation. That would open up athletics to everyone, including gender nonconforming and intersex individuals who do not comfortably fit into either the male or female category and currently have no place.

    Some may argue that it’s radical and impractical to abolish segregation along sex lines in sport as it would give men an unfair advantage over women. That may be true in sports that emphasize strength and speed, but not all men are stronger than all women, and not every sport requires strength and speed to be successful as an athlete.

    Unfair advantage is the basis of sport, so if some men are stronger and taller than some women, so be it. Regardless of the matter, everyone deserves a chance to compete at the highest athletic levels.

  • Women’s diving places two in top eight on day two of diving invitational

    It took five dives for senior Meghan Houston to finally pull away in the women’s 1-meter finals Friday at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. She grabbed the lead with a reverse one-and-a-half somersault. The dive scored 54 points to push her past California freshman Phoebe Lamay.

    Houston won the title with 315.65 points after trailing Lamay throughout the finals.

    “Those first couple of dives weren’t quite my best, but the back one-and-a-half is one of my more reliable dives,” Houston said.

    Houston scored 51.75 points on her sixth and final dive — a back one-and-a-half somersault — to secure the victory. This is Houston’s third straight 1-meter victory at the Texas Diving Invitational. She defeated Lamay by just over two points.

    “I knew it was pretty close,” Houston said. “I told myself to relax and do that dive like I do in practice, and I knew it was going to be there.”

    Freshman Meghan O’Brien placed fifth with 301.85 points. Freshman Sofia Rauzi took ninth with 272.10. In the 3-meter event yesterday, Rauzi placed sixth and Houston placed eighth.

    Houston qualified for the Big 12 championships the past two years and has placed in the top 10 in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events. She qualified for the NCAA championships last year in both events.

    The women’s platform final caps off the Texas Diving Invitational on Saturday at 10 a.m.