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The Texas Longhorns (2-2) aren’t back and things aren’t pretty inside the program. Athletic director Chris Del Conte angered some players and fans on Wednesday when he said that players need to “stand together as a unified group” and “show appreciation for our university, fans, and supporters” by singing school spirit song “Eyes of Texas” at the end of games.
The song, which originated at a 1903 campus minstrel show, has become a hot topic at a school where black players demanded, during the Summer of Woke, that the school drop the song. Texas greats Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams have said the song should stay.
The history of the song and how it came to be a Texas tradition is long and full of interpretation from numerous thinkers. The quick version is that UT President William Lambdin (Colonel) Prather was a student at Washington College when Robert E. Lee was the school’s president. The story goes that Lee would tell his students “the eyes of the South are upon you.”
Later, when Prather was UT’s president, he created his own version for his students. “The eyes of Texas are upon you,” Prather would say. Those words became the basis for the song that is now so controversial for the program.
The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
All the livelong day.
The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
You cannot get away.
Do not think you can escape them
At night or early in the morn —
The Eyes of Texas are upon you
Til Gabriel blows his horn.
Things came to a head this week after photos surfaced showing quarterback Sam Ehlinger standing alone without his teammates and singing the song after a tough loss to Oklahoma. Tom Herman said he’ll continue to sing the song along with Ehlinger.
”I’ve encouraged our staff and team to join me in participating after games if they are comfortable doing that. I do believe it’s important that we acknowledge and thank our fans after a hard-fought game. Sam Ehlinger and some of our team did join me in standing with our fans who had cheered so hard and helped us greatly in our comeback against Oklahoma. I applaud them and respect that,” Herman said Monday.
“That said, some members of our program have concerns and aren’t comfortable participating at this time. I respect that as well,” Herman said. “This is an issue we will continue to have meaningful conversations about and will work through.”
It’s unclear what will happen to players who don’t follow AD Del Conte’s directive to stand together. Tom Herman is wearing out his welcome in Austin and a song threatens to send this program off the deep end. This is not how the Longhorns head coach envisioned the season going with a Heisman-candidate quarterback. Now Herman has to hold things together through a bye week as Texas is off until October 24 when it hosts Baylor.
Breaking | Sam Ehlinger is the only Texas player to stay for the singing of "the Eyes of Texas" post game. pic.twitter.com/RFlHUQGa4W
— Tattoo Baker (@QB1TATT00) October 10, 2020
Sam Ehlinger was the only Longhorn who stayed out for The Eyes of Texas. That other players wouldn’t stand with him, regardless of their feelings about the school song, is an indictment of Coach Tom Herman and the entitlement culture his mollycoddling of players has created. pic.twitter.com/8jQ9SrZAnj
— Rawaustin (@rawaustin) October 11, 2020