On the never-ending list of feuds I never thought would become a reality in college football, a possible clash between Texas president Greg Fenves and rock ‘n roll icon Gene Simmons would have been way down on the list in my mind. Little did I know the two have a shared interest with contrasting viewpoints.
Simmons, of KISS fame and fortune, is attempting to file paperwork to trademark the hand gesture routinely used by rock fans commonly referred to as the devil horns. Of course, the gesture is also strikingly similar to the traditional hook’ em horns hand gesture long used by fans of the Texas Longhorns.
Forget about Texas vs. Oklahoma, because we may have ourselves a fun little legal dispute on our hands, as suggested by a tweet published by Fenves recently in response to Simmons’ trademark attempt.
I will not pretend to understand or explain how trademark law works, but it would seem to me Simmons is filing for something that will never stand a chance of actually being approved for a trademark. But good luck to him. Even if he does get his trademark, there won’t be anything stopping Texas fans from throwing up the hook ’em horns when something is going well (nor will it prevent rival opponents from throwing down the hook ’em horns when they do something well).
Maybe the two sides can work out a deal to have KISS perform with the Texas marching band if we need to get to a point where negotiations and compromises are needed.
If you thought the Texas story regarding Tulsa offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert was done, think again. Reports Friday surfaced saying Texas is still going all in on trying to lure Gilbert to Austin. The measures have gone so far as to fly the university president to Tulsa to make a sales pitch.
On Friday, University of Texas president Greg Fenves tweeted his show of support for Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong on his Twitter account.
Not too long after that, reports started spreading that Fenves was en route to Tulsa to try and convince Gilbert to leave the Tulsa program and join the Texas coaching staff. The thinking was having the university president make the sales pitch would show the job security Strong has as head coach of the struggling Longhorns program. Joining Fenves on the recruiting trip was Strong and Texas Athletics Director Mike Perrin. This is an all-out blitz to secure Tulsa’s offensive coordinator, who may or may not have already turned down an offer. You don’t fly in the head coach, athletics director and president and return empty-handed. This is clearly the top target for the Longhorns, and they are working every possible angle to make it happen.
But what if it doesn’t work?
This could be bad for Texas. Forget about the confusion in the reporting leading up to this latest sequence of events. If Texas goes all in for Gilbert and comes away without him, that is a bad look. That doesn’t mean Texas will fail in this process though. If Gilbert does not come to Texas, there is still a chance a good hire can be made. That all must be determined later on though. Until then, the Texas football program faces a tough battle and recruiting rivals are surely going to take notice and use this to their advantage as much as possible.
The University of Texas will reportedly buy out the contract of athletics director Steve Patterson, which seems to be moving quickly.
A report from Brian Davis and Kirk Bohls on HookeEm.com says University of Texas President Gregory Fenves is expected to fire Patterson as early as today. The two are expected to meet Tuesday to make the decision official. Former Texas linebacker Mike Perrin is expected to be named the interim AD. Former Longhorns head coach Mack Brown is not expected to be a candidate for the permanent job, although Brown did meet with the university president before this decision was made, according to the report.
What does this mean for Texas football? For starters, Charlie Strong is not going anywhere. While it would be ideal for an AD to be able to choose his or her own football coach, Strong is just underway in his second season of what was supposed to be a multi-year rebuild. No AD, be they interim or permanent, will step in and make that drastic a change right off the bat. The 2016 season could tell a different story, but let’s hold off on any thought of Strong being let go as head coach of the Longhorns. For now, Strong’s job should be considered safe.
What Texas needs is an AD that will smooth over relations with the donors and fans that support Texas football. That has been one of the biggest issues Patterson has been faced with, with a bulk of the responsibility for a strained marriage falling on his shoulders. Texas needs someone that can come in, make the best decisions for the Longhorns from a budget perspective but also from a public relations stance. Patterson may have been making decent business decisions, but it alienated the supporters in the process. There needs to be a balance between making hard decisions and pleasing those who fund the program and university from their own checking accounts. That is where Patterson ultimately failed, and where Texas can ill-afford to mess up again.
Texas should not simply hire a Texas guy for the sake of making Texas fans happy. It is still OK to think outside the box with its next AD hire, and it remains OK to bring in someone with no previous ties to the Longhorns. A fresh point of view can benefit Texas, but it will also be important whoever the next AD ends up being understands the pressures to make fans happy. Donors will be happy to continue writing checks as long as they feel appreciated and the team is winning. If the team is not winning, then the AD needs to bend over backward to sell the message it is committed to improving without caving too soon on Strong as head coach.
A changing of the guard at the University of Texas may provide a glimmer of hope for fans wanting to spend a few bucks on a frosty beverage at a Texas Longhorns football game this fall.
Greg Fenves, the new University of Texas president, is on record supporting the possibility of beer sales in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Fenves took over the position as president on Wednesday, and it did not take long for somebody to ask him about the topic.
Texas has been experimenting with beer sales at athletic events over the past year, but football has remained off limits. The larger attendance issues appeared to be the biggest hurdle, with Texas needing time to work a system for selling beer at athletic events before going into football beer sales.
“(Former Texas President) Bill Powers and I agreed that we really needed more of an experience of selling beer and wine at our basketball games, baseball and track and field,” Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said last July. That was when it was decided there would be no beer sales at Texas football games for the 2014 season, ending any speculation it may become a reality last fall. Fenves said this week the university has seen no evidence of security problems from beer sales so far. It is also worth noting Cigarroa had been opposed to the idea, but he is no longer the one who would need to grant approval. That task falls on his successor, William McRaven. If McRaven grants his approval, any proposal involving beer sales would still have to be approved by the board of regents.
A handful of schools have started selling beer at football games, and the results seem to be positive. Obviously the extra income is what drives the discussion, but monitoring the sales and preventing it from leading to a disruptive game day atmosphere is what is a concern. West Virginia and Minnesota have been doing this for a couple of years now, and other schools are openly reviewing the results while making a decision on whether or not it is something they will choose to get into moving forward, Texas included.