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An Aggie in the Texas House is urging the leadership at Texas A&M and the University of Texas to continue the Lone Star Showdown football game despite the Aggies' impending move to the Southeastern Conference.
Rep. Lyle Larson, a Republican representing parts of San Antonio and Bexar County, sent a leader to the presidents of both universities and their respective chancellors asking the two sides to overcome current differences and continue the century-long rivalry, one that's due to end for the foreseeable future Thursday at Kyle Field.
A&M announced earlier this football season that the university would switch conference affiliations from the Big 12 to the SEC, a move largely fueled by A&M's belief that UT had dominant control over the Big 12.
"For over 100 years, Aggies and Longhorns have gathered to honor this tradition that a conference realignment should not preclude these universities from continuing," Rep. Larson wrote. "Songs, stories, family legacies, and 100 years of Texas heritage have been manifested from this historic gridiron battle."
Larson graduated from A&M in 1981. He served on San Antonio's city council and the Bexar County commissioners court before earning the District 122 seat in the Texas House in 2010.
From the beginning of the rumors that the Aggies were seeking an SEC invite, A&M leaders have said they would want to continue the Lone Star Showdown. However, UT officials have indicated they have no room on the Longhorn football schedule for at least the next eight years.
A&M is not the only team departing the Big 12. Missouri also announced it would join the Aggies in the SEC. West Virginia and Texas Christian Universities are making switches to fill those slots in the Big 12.
The following is the letter sent by Rep. Lyle Larson to Texas A&M and University of Texas leaders:
November 23, 2011
Thank you for all you do for Texas. As we prepare to enjoy the last scheduled world renowned rivalry football game on Thanksgiving Day, it's time the leadership of both universities come together to work to ensure this game continues in the future, regardless of conference alliances.
For over 100 years, Aggies and Longhorns have gathered to honor this tradition that a conference realignment should not preclude these universities from continuing. Songs, stories, family legacies, and 100 years of Texas heritage have been manifested from this historic gridiron battle.
Throughout the nation, similar rivalries have withstood various changes and have made a priority of ensuring the rivalry game is played every season. A perfect example is the University of South Carolina and Clemson University. Though they remain in different conferences, the universities have continued to hold their rivalry game. Additionally, the University of Texas and Oklahoma have enjoyed a longstanding rivalry that was nonconference for decades. Clearly, this can be accomplished if all involved are willing to put their egos aside.
Not only is this football game one of the greatest traditions in the State of Texas, it is a major economic boon to both universities. Year after year, the universities can look forward to a sold out stadium which is an important revenue generator, especially important in tough economic times like these. Television revenue alone would far outweigh any other nonconference game with any other university.
As Jeff Pickering, Texas A&M student body president so aptly explained in a recent New York Times article, “… the rivalry doesn’t belong to us. It’s not ours to say yes or no to — it’s not the University of Texas or the Longhorns — this game belongs to the state of Texas.”
As a state legislator and member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of '81, I urge you to work collaboratively to ensure we continue this Thanksgiving Day tradition in 2012 and into the future.
Thank you for your consideration.
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