The University of Texas and Texas A&M University would be forced to hit the field together once a year if the Texas Legislature approves a bill filed Monday.
The bill, filed by Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, did not have an accompanying text as of Monday night, but a post on Guillen’s Twitter account said the two rival universities would face each other in an annual non-conference game.
“This game is as much a Texas tradition as cowboy boots and barbecue,” Guillen, Texas A&M alumnus, told The Texas Tribune. “The purpose of the bill is to put the eyes of Texas upon our two greatest universities to restore this sacred Texas tradition.”
If either institution refuses to participate in the game, it would suffer restrictions on its athletic scholarships, according to The Texas Tribune.
UT and Texas A&M previously faced each other annually on Thanksgiving. That tradition ended when A&M left the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference at the start of the 2012-13 academic year. UT defeated A&M at their last meeting in 2011, 27-25.
In 2011, Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, said he would file legislation during the 83rd Legislature requiring the two teams to meet. So far, no such legislation has been filed in the Senate.
“This football series began in 1894, and I don’t think it’s time to stop this rivalry,” Williams said in a 2011 press release.
DeLoss Dodds, UT men’s head athletic director, said in 2011 that such legislation would cause scheduling conflicts for both teams because each team’s schedule is confirmed until 2018.
Electrical engineering freshman Dushyant Bhatnagar said he would be excited to watch the two teams play each other again but said he hopes the Legislature does not prioritize establishing the game over more pressing topics.
“It’s better to keep a strong state than to mandate a football game,” Bhatnagar said.
Leah Miller, Latin American studies freshman, said she does not pay attention to UT football and does not know what the Big 12 is.
“I know football’s a big deal down here but I’m from Massachusetts,” Miller said.
Printed on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 as: Bill proposes annual UT, Texas A&M face-off