Texas coach Steve Sarkisian opened his Monday press conference by apologizing for not singing “The Eyes of Texas,” UT’s school song, before leaving the field after the Longhorns’ 41-34 loss to Oklahoma State.
“As you know, I owe an apology to Longhorn Nation,” Sarkisian said. “I made a mistake at the end of the game in not singing ‘The Eyes of Texas’ when the game was done. That was not anything intentional. That was not anything that had to do with our players. I think our players just followed me up the ramp into the locker room, obviously upset by the way the game ended.
“I apologize to everybody for that.”
The song has been the subject of controversy in recent years. A UT report published last year said “The Eyes of Texas” debuted at a minstrel show in 1903 by singers who were likely in blackface.
UT students and the Texas NAACP filed a federal civil rights complaint last year, claiming the university was discriminating against Black students on the basis of race by its use of the song. The launch of a university band for students who don’t want to play “The Eyes of Texas” is underway, arriving as early as 2023. Some Longhorn band members had previously refused to play the song.
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Few Texas players stayed on the field in Stillwater to sing the song, which is a tradition after games regardless of outcome, after losing to Oklahoma State. But, per Sarkisian, that can be attributed to frustration among Longhorn players with blowing a 14-point lead and losing their third game this season.
“That’ll never happen again,” Sarkisian said. “But again, that was not intentional. It was not premeditated by any means. That was just a mistake on my part. Nothing to do with the players. They had followed my lead on that. So that won’t happen again.”
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Texas is 5-3 overall this season and 3-2 in Big 12 play. The Longhorns are on a bye week and will next take the field on Nov. 5 in Manhattan, Kansas, against No. 22 Kansas State (5-2, 3-1).