Senate Republican Issues Threat
of Payback for UT with PUF Raid
July 24, 2021
An influential Republican lawmaker raised the specter on Saturday of financial retaliation against the University of Texas as a result of its lead role in a monumental poaching scheme that has the Longhorns heading to the SEC in a move that could destroy college football for countless numbers of people across the Lone Star State.
State Senator Charles Perry of Lubbock suggested that the Permanent University Fund could be a target as a separate trust account for the University of Texas and Texas A&M University systems with income derived from land owned by the state.
A Texas Tech University graduate who's served seven years in the Senate after three in the House, Perry is one of several dozen lawmakers who united on Friday behind bills that would make UT's jump from the Big 12 to the SEC contingent on the Legislature's approval.
Most of the legislators who've signed off on the House and Senate measures in question have ties to Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU - the three Texas schools that will suffer immeasurable losses with UT and the University of Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 in a state of wreckage.
Perry - a staunch conservative who's one of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's top lieutenants - cloaked the veiled threat in a Facebook post that began with a sad and sentimental note on the poisonous effect that greed is having on amateur athletics and traditions that have long been sacred here in Texas.
"The continued demise of amateur athletics reared its head once more," Perry said. "Gone are the days of playing for the love of the game, the joy of competition, and school loyalty. Money has become the competition.
"I will remind the University of Texas that they receive state dollars in various ways, majority of which are under the discretion of the legislature and are provided by Texas taxpayers," Perry warned. "Maybe it is time for a constitutional amendment for schools that snub their nose at the hand that feeds them. What happened to college being about academics?"
Perry - one of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's top allies as the Water, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee chairman - didn't mention Governor Greg Abbott or the other Republicans who'd spent at least six months negotiating the shift to the SEC that wouldn't have been possible with the blessings of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban.
The process for the UT defection has been in motion for all practical purposes since the school hired Steve Sarkisian as the new head football coach after cutting Tom Herman loose. Sarkisian was working as Saban's offensive coordinator at Alabama at the time.
As a school with the profitable athletic department in the nation year after year, UT didn't appear to be in danger of going broke when it decided that it wanted to make more regardless of the impact it might have on the school's ability to win.
Texas fans have become accustomed to mediocrity since Mack Brown's departure as head football coach. Big-money interests at UT actually tried before the school inked Herman to persuade Saban to the coach the Horns - an offer he said he'd have to have been crazy to even consider much less take.
UT appears to be hoping now to find the long-lost cure for seasons with four or five losses in the SEC where the Longhorns' odds at the outset will be lower on paper than they were in the Big 12. Stronger overall competition, money and prestige could be the magic that UT needs to restore its fading glory from the past as a school with a football team that's done nothing to earn respect during the past decade.
more to come ...