College Football

UT Students, Alumni Await University-Commissioned Report on ‘The Eyes of Texas'

The university commissioned a panel of scholars, students, athletes and alumni to trace the song's origin and history.

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The University of Texas is expected to release a highly-anticipated report Tuesday about the origins of the school's alma mater "The Eyes of Texas."

The debate over whether the school should continue to play the song has been a source of controversy within the Longhorn community.

"When people learn the history of this song, certainly people of color, they have a problem with the song," said Clarence Hill Jr., who covers the Cowboys for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The school spirit song at the University of Texas, “The Eyes of Texas,” has become a much-discussed topic in recent months. A report last month in The Texas Tribune revealed correspondence from donors indicating they would pull support if the university stopped playing the song, while others, including some student-athletes, have spoken out against the song.

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With its ties to minstrel shows in the early 1900s and racist undertones, calls grew louder for the university to stop playing the spirit song after the death of George Floyd.

The issue has divided the Longhorn community.

Some football players said they would no longer stay on the field for the playing of the song, some university band members refused to play it and other students started a petition to replace it.

Meanwhile, other students and alumni joined petitions to keep the song.

Recent reports by the Texas Tribune highlighted emails alumni sent to the school president, threatening to withdraw donations if the song was no longer played.

Former University of Texas basketball star and founder of Reveal Suits, Carlton Dixon, said he was troubled by comments made by alumni in defense of the song.

"I think a lot of true colors are showing, unfortunately," Dixon said. "It's a money play. We'll rescind our donation if this doesn't happen and that's very unfortunate. That's very offensive."

In November, the university commissioned a panel of scholars, athletes, alums and students to provide a report on the song's origin, history and to propose a strategy on how to memorialize it.

In a preview, Texas Monthly writes the committee did not find any "racist intent" in the song's lyrics.

No matter what the report reveals, both Hill and Dixon said what matters most is how the university responds going forward.

"No matter what the report says about trying to move forward and try to come together after this report and the history of the song, you cannot make these players stand and sing this song," Hill said.

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