Records show many influential Texans helped underqualified students get into UT

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The Dallas Morning News reported Monday "dozens" of notable Texans, lawmakers, lawyers and even UT regents helped influence the admissions process for students deemed unqualified. 

According to records The Dallas Morning News obtained, among the people who directly bypassed the admissions office and wrote to then-President William Powers Jr. and then-Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa were famed golfer Ben Crenshaw, former UT regent Scott Craven, Austin lawyer Roy Minton, Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) and Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio).
 
Other figures discovered to have helped included Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss, former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, and former regents Jess Hay and Thomas Hicks.
 
Strauss wrote a letter in November 2012 to the director of admissions regarding the close daughter of a family friend.
 
“I know [the student] well as our families are close friends,” Strauss said in the letter. “[She] is a multi-generation Longhorn legacy, dating back to 1924.” 
 
A letter of recommendation from W.A. “Tex” Moncrief, a millionaire oil man in Fort Worth, said he did not know the student but came from a good family legacy.
 
“I do not know this young man or anything about his qualifications, but I do know [the student’s] parents and I know his grandparents very well,” Moncrief wrote in the letter. “[The student] is certainly from a very fine and highly respected family. 
 
These letters were spotlighted in an outside investigation known as the Kroll Report. Under this report, Powers directly admitted 73 students from 2009–2010 with GPAs less than 2.9 and SAT scores less than 1100.