University of Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte addressed fans and donors’ concerns about student-athletes failing to stay on the field during the school’s fight song “The Eyes of Texas.”
According to the Austin-American Statesman, Del Conte wrote a letter after it became noticeable that most of the team and coaches were in the locker room when the song was playing. In the letter, Del Conte said that he expected players and coaches to be out there despite concerns over the song’s history.
“Many of your questions have been about our student-athletes and the confusion about why they have not remained on the field for ‘The Eyes of Texas’ after the games. I, like so many of you, view the song with pride and sing loudly and proudly in honor of the efforts of those who represent and support this phenomenal institution,” he wrote, according to the newspaper.
“As much as our student-athletes love this university, they have questions about the history of ‘The Eyes’ and concerns about it.
“With that said, I do want to clarify that I have had many conversations with our head coaches outlining my expectations that our teams show appreciation for our university, fans, and supporters by standing together as a unified group for ‘The Eyes,’ while we work through this issue.”
Texas has been one of the NCAA schools on the frontlines for social justice since awareness was raised following the death of George Floyd.
Texas Monthly wrote in June the backstory of “The Eyes of Texas,” which reportedly has ties to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s phrase “the eyes of the South are upon you.” Former university president William Prather would coin the phrase “Forward, young men and women of the University, the eyes of Texas are upon you!”
Lee’s phrase and Prather’s saying became the inspiration to the new song, according to the magazine. The school had addressed the issue in July, saying the song would stay but the school could redetermine the meaning of the song.