Not So Fast On That Longhorns/Red Raiders Scheduling Agreement
Lubbockonline.com reported yesterday that the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Texas Longhorns were going to continue playing football and basketball in the future, even after the Longhorns go to SEC and the Red Raiders remain in the Big 12.
Those overtures were echoed in the piece of reporting by Don Williams, with a key quote from Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt.
"We have had conversations with the University of Texas about continuing to play them once they leave the Big 12 Conference, on an annual basis, in all sports," Hocutt doubled down to Lubbockonline.com. "And we have received affirmation from leadership at the University of Texas that they agree that would be a positive thing and have pledged that they will work that out with us in terms of future schedule."
We've received affirmation. That's what Hocutt said on September 10th, 2021.
On September 11th, the very next day, Brian Davis of the Austin-American Statesman tweeted that Texas officials "have no response this morning to Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt saying the Horns-Raiders will play an annual non-conf."
Davis also reported on Twitter that one "high-ranking" Texas dude claims that Hocutt's statement on the schools being tied together was "very premature."
I'm 100 percent SHOCKED that Texas is being noncommittal to playing Texas Tech in multiple sports. (The last sentence was sarcasm.)
Look, I think Texas Tech wants to continue playing Texas. Of course they do. It's the most attended football game by far every time the Longhorns come to Lubbock, and it generally is the most-watched game the Red Raiders play all year. The partnership once Texas goes to the SEC would be even more beneficial for the Red Raiders. But when Texas A&M skated to the SEC, did they keep playing Big 12 teams? No, they did not.
The Longhorns have the same kind of leadership which will play the 'it's a much better deal for you to play us, than for us to play you' card as much as they can, and the bottom line is they're right.
I've had a conspiracy theory cooking on my own Twitter account that Dr. Lawrence Schovanec and Kirby Hocutt have played this conference expansion thing masterfully by putting Texas Tech in a position to be at the top of an "autonomous" conference. The Red Raiders are one of the strongest athletic departments in the new-look Big 12, and now hold a lot of the cards when it comes to decision making moving forward.
That power has been shown in the last few weeks by Hocutt being on the forefront of the expansion efforts and Dr. Schovanec being on the welcoming train for the new schools into the conference.
If this was another masterstroke by Hocutt to announce that a long-term scheduling pack was wanted on the Red Raiders side of things when he knew full-well that the Longhorns were going to be hesitant to make that deal, then he's on an absolute heater. Maybe I'm giving the guy too much credit to be able to foresee this development, but it's not like it takes a soothsayer to predict that Texas would squelch on any kind of agreement or contract. That's kind of their M.O.
Hocutt getting in front of the narrative by announcing they want to play Texas in everything is exactly how the Longhorns made the Aggies look like fools for the last decade.
Well played by Hocutt to put the balls in the Longhorns court -- literally.