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Friday, March 6, 2009
UT president claims football could end without admissions change


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Imagine a doomsday scenario when there isn't a football team at Texas.

I know, it's hard to believe -- what with the program virtually printing money and the school approving expansion of Royal Memorial Stadium seemingly every other year or so.

But Texas president William Powers warned members of the Texas State Senate Higher Education Committee earlier this week that there could be a day when the school would stop accepting students from outside the state and country and maybe even do away with athletics as a result.

The problem that Powers sees is the state's automatic-admission law. The rule guarantees a student graduating in the top 10 percent of a Texas high school admission in any public university in the state.

With Texas becoming the college of choice for most Texas students, the school is straining to make room for all of the students. State statistics indicated that 81 percent of the incoming freshmen enrolled under that provision last year and studies indicate that 86 percent will enroll next year.

School officials fear they will have to reject all Texas high school students not in the top 10 percent by 2013. And by 2015, there likely will be no room in the freshmen class for students from other states or countries.

"It has become a crisis for us," Powers told the Austin American-Statesman. "We're simply out of space."

And that's where he fears that college football will be squeezed. The Statesman reported that most of Texas' prospective football players don't rank among the top 10 percent of their graduating classes.

So such a rule, he claims, would have a drastic effect on the Texas program.

Playing devil's advocate, maybe requiring the 10 percent admission rule for admission would be a good thing for college athletics everywhere. Rules that would result in smarter students attending college. What a concept.

But I'm enough of a realist to realize that most fans wouldn't necessarily pay to see that. And probably wouldn't care enough to read a blog about those smarter kids, either.

Because of that, athletics likely will be the last area that will ever be affected. Powers didn't need to mention football. Because I'm thinking the bats that swarm the Austin campus would be eradicated long before fall Saturday afternoons ever will be affected.  

Texas is one of the few athletic departments nationally that is operating in the black. And the drastic effect of doing away with the athletic program would have more grievous effects for the school than any change in its admission policy.

"We're trying not to let that happen," Powers said.

Just a guess here, but I bet it won't ever reach that point. And even insinuating it could is a joke.

Because something tells me that Texas taxpayers would angrily tell their lawmakers they didn't want that to happen.

Even those who support Aggies, Red Raiders and Bears.