Strong

Let's hope the football team can move on quickly from Sanders/Meander case

Texas head coach Charlie Strong has dismissed nine players and suspended three more for violating team rules since taking over at the helm of the Longhorns in January.
Texas head coach Charlie Strong has dismissed nine players and suspended three more for violating team rules since taking over at the helm of the Longhorns in January.

Over the summer, two football players, Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander, were arrested after allegedly assaulting a female student in a campus dorm. Following the arrests, Coach Strong suspended both players from the team for an indefinite amount of time. On Aug. 3, he announced that they had been dismissed from the team because of the charges brought against them.  

Months later, the case has resurfaced. According to documents from the Travis County Court, the jury found enough evidence to indict the two players, which means the trial will proceed. The two players are set to appear in court Friday.  

It doesn't take a sports expert or Longhorn football fanatic to know that sexually assaulting someone created a PR nightmare for the University, not to mention the slew of negative stereotypes about athletes that were affirmed after the news of the assault broke.  

This scandal has, unfortunately, marred the clean record that Coach Strong has worked hard to attain since his arrival to Austin. While the Longhorns might not have had the best season, the team worked hard to improve its public image and reputation on campus and across the country — something which should be valued as highly as a winning score.  

Hopefully, the trial will be quick and painless so the University of Texas, Coach Strong, the Longhorns and their fans can get on with next season, hopefully one devoid of assault or any other negative publicity.   

Berkeley is an associate editor.

Photo Credit: Albert Lee | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of the University of Texas’ friendly rivalry with the University of Oklahoma, the editorial boards of The Daily Texan and The Oklahoma Daily have exchanged editorials. The Red River Rivalry, or the Red River Showdown, as it is now officially known, is played every October in the neutral meeting ground of Dallas and is a time-honored tradition that brings out both the best and, some would say, worst in Texas and Oklahoma football fans. In anticipation of Saturday’s game, both editorials are running in Austin and Norman today. To view the editorial written by The Oklahoma Daily editorial board, click here

It’s that time of year already, the week when we pause to remember that there’s a rogue band of hill people roaming around on the other side of the Red River. 

Last year you came to Dallas undefeated and full of hope. We really thought you had the pieces to make a championship run. Your quarterback had a cool nickname, “Belldozer,” like some off-brand Transformer whose special power is throwing INTs. Your defensive backs were running around pretending they were sharks like some pee-wee soccer team. It was adorable.

But somehow we still managed to beat you. Even with his head-coaching death rattle, Mack Brown was able to hand your school its biggest embarrassment since the 2013 graduating class. 

We weren’t even really trying that hard. Seriously, the MVP was Case McCoy, who didn’t even joke about trying to go to the NFL. That’s right, this time last year you got schooled by a guy who we’re pretty sure is currently selling Cutco knives or something.

But really, are y’all even trying to keep us interested? Your fans can’t even get our hand gesture right. It’s sad looking over to the South End Zone halfway through the second quarter to see that your Hook ‘Em Horns is already drooping downward. And a little strange, since we always figured Sooner men would have exceptionally strong wrists. 

It’s like you’re losing focus. You already lost to TCU, probably because Trevor Knight was too busy sexting Katy Perry. At least we can enjoy her career for these last few days before she becomes an Okie, moves to Norman and starts hanging out at T. J. Maxx.

Now we’re not perfect, we know. We’ve taken our share of hits during a tough rebuilding year, though we’re optimistic. Sure, we lost to BYU, but they have God on their side. You guys just have the Devil, or “Barry Switzer,” whatever he’s calling himself nowadays.

Moving on, though, in light of your school’s refusal to live up to even the most modest of expectations, we’ve decided to go ahead and handicap this game ourselves. You may have noticed we’ve already kicked off several players, including former starters. Just in case that’s not enough, Coach Strong has promised that if we’re still winning at halftime he’ll pull Tyrone Swoopes and let Tony Romo play quarterback. If we go up by 14, he’ll let Big Tex start calling the plays. 

The times really are changing. Coach Strong has brought a new dawn on the 40 Acres. We’re proud to see him enforce his five core values: honesty, treating women with respect and no drugs, stealing or guns. Which means if he were your coach, he’d kick the Ruffnecks out of the program, but he’d have to do it respectfully.

But there is a fundamental difference between our two football programs. When two former Longhorn players were accused of sexaully assaulting a woman, Strong immediately kicked them off the team. After Dorial Green-Beckham and Joe Mixon were accused of battering young women, you gave them scholarships. Actually, it makes a lot more sense now why your local press was comparing Mixon to a young Adrian Peterson last spring.

Face it, your Standards and Compliance office is about as reliable as Sam Bradford’s knees. What do the signs read at the OU Practice Facility? Give us your poor, your tired, your felonious position players with remaining eligibility?

Regardless of your school’s moral code, or lack thereof, we still have a game to play on Saturday. Deep down, there’s a part of us that still feels like embarrassing you on national television. Guess old habits die hard.

We live in a tumultuous period in our nation’s history. From ISIS to the Russians, the news is full of troubling headlines and apocalyptic threats. Wait, sorry, you don’t follow the news, so let us contextualize. Imagine they were going to cancel “Mike and Molly.” Scary, right?

America needs some reassurance that there’s still some good in the world. America needs Texas to beat OU. 

Wait, you don’t think OU is awful? Well, not sure how best to explain this, but you are. We’d rather spend six hours stuck on the tarmac after a Delta flight than attend OU. Matthew McConaughey will actually convince someone to buy a Lincoln before you get us to believe your state isn’t a Roosevelt-era government works projects designed to attract and retain simpletons, like a fly trap, but with more half-finished GEDs. Oklahoma is what “Deliverance” would be like if it were set in a gas station bathroom.

Just how truly awful is Oklahoma? I-35 North is the only time we’ve ever muttered “Thank God” upon seeing a “Welcome to Kansas” sign.

Lastly, the Texas Department of Transportation has issued a warning that there may be delays this weekend because of highway construction, so be advised that OU still sucks.

Bill Little, special assistant to the head football coach for communication, will retire Sunday after 46 years with the Texas athletics department. The football and baseball press boxes will be named the Bill Little Media Center in his honor. 

Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

Seven years ago, Bill Little, special assistant to the head football coach for communication, made a promise to then-athletic director DeLoss Dodds and head football coach Mack Brown.

The longtime sports information director committed to stay at Texas for as long as Dodds and Brown did.

But, last January, just a few months away from turning 72, Little and his wife, Kim, realized that promise had been fulfilled.

“In January, I looked up, and both DeLoss and Mack were gone,” Little said. “A new group of people were coming in, and they needed their own people to do their own thing. So [Kim and I] said, in the words of Coach Royal, ‘Let’s just set our bucket down.’ And that’s what we decided to do.”

On Aug. 31, Little will retire, and, for the first time since 1968, he will no longer be an employee of Texas athletics.

The legendary wordsmith, who worked as a commentary writer and special assistant to Brown for the past seven years, saw the reigns of five football coaches, five basketball coaches and four athletic directors during his time in Austin. He attended 36 bowl games with the Longhorns and broadcasted more than 1,700 baseball games. Even Little’s honeymoon consisted of accompanying the Longhorns’ basketball team to New York during their NIT trip in 1978. But, after seeing six decades come and go at Texas, Little thought it was the perfect time to leave.

“It’s always hard to step away,” Little said. “But the timing was just perfect. I always said I never wanted to leave anywhere bitter, and that has always been important to me. The opportunity seemed right for the new administration — for Coach Strong and for everyone. It was a hard decision, but it was also an easy decision.”

Little grew up in Winters, a small town south of Abilene that encompasses under three square miles and has a population of just more than 2,500. After growing up a Longhorn fan, he followed in the footsteps of both his parents and began his college career at Texas in 1960.

As a student, he majored in journalism and worked in the sports information director’s office, creating a close friendship with football coach Darrell K Royal that would span until his death in 2012. In addition, he served as the sports editor of The Daily Texan for two years, witnessing Royal’s first national championship in 1963.

In 1968, at 26, Little started his full-time career at Texas as an assistant sports information director after a job interview that lasted just two sentences.

“I saw there was this really good job in public relations at the University of Texas,” Little said. “I called Coach Royal, and I said, ‘Coach, I want to come back.’ And he said, ‘I’d like to have you back.’ And that was the extent of it. I started that spring.”

Unknowingly, Little would spend the next 46 years involved in Texas sports. Ironically, though, sports weren’t Little’s passion. His passion stretched through sports to the stories that could be told and the people who were discovered through the game.

“I knew I loved journalism, and I knew I loved to tell the story,” Little said. “What I found in sports was the human element. It’s the conquest of the human spirit. It makes you love the game — whatever it is — and you cry with it, whether you win or lose.”

Little wanted to make a difference through his work and through his words.

“I always found that, if you can write something that can make a difference to somebody, it can change a life,” Little said. “I was a bad golfer and a worse tennis player. And I wasn’t big enough to play football, and I was too short to play basketball, so my only gifts were to write and talk. And, if I was going to do what God put me on this planet to do, then I needed to do those things.”

Little made that difference he was seeking and influenced so many around him that the football and baseball press boxes will now be named the Bill Little Media Center. A significant gift from longtime athletics supporter Marian Dozier created the funds to honor Little.

“It means so much to be able to honor my great friend Bill in this way,” Dozier said. “This naming will help honor his immense life work, the legacy he has left nationally on sports media and hopefully motivate young people to follow their passions in work and life.”

With his retirement approaching, Little — who has three children and ten grandchildren, all of whom are Texas fans — is ready to step away. He still hopes to stay involved with Texas athletics, though, by announcing home baseball games and doing radio work. He’s also written seven books on the Longhorns and hopes to finish a few more during his new free time. 

“Texas athletics has pretty much been my life for close to 60 years,” Little said. “This fall will mark the first time since 1957 I haven’t covered football for somebody. But now, I think I’ve earned the chance to set my bucket down.”