Posted January 29, 2013

Texas-Texas A&M rivalry legislated back to life? Not likely

Flights of Ridiculous Whimsy, Legal Matters, Rivalries, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns
Everybody who wants to see Texas and Texas A&M play again on the regular, raise your hand. (AP)

Everybody who wants to see Texas and Texas A&M play again on the regular, raise your hand. (AP)

The annual Texas-Texas A&M clash was one of several longstanding college football rivalries felled by conference realignment, and after just one year off, willingness to restore the tradition by whatever goofy means necessary is already on display. Texas state representative Ryan Guillen has filed a bill to reestablish the series, under threat of scholarship restrictions. (Wait. What?)

If this sounds … curious to you, you’re not alone. We enlisted the kind assistance of SI.com legal analyst Michael McCann, who offers this take on Guillen’s bill, with the obvious part right up front (emphasis ours):

1) I don’t think this bill has a plausible shot of becoming law. Using the law to interfere with the scheduling of college football games seems like a dubious use of legislative authority and government overreach. 

2) If it defies the odds and becomes law, the two schools would likely claim the law is unconstitutional — specifically, the argument would be that the state lacks legal authority to regulate the scheduling of games or at least lacks the authority to regulate the scheduling of games for a non-health reason like this. Scholarships also impact interstate activities, which are usually the domain of the federal government, so that would be another argument against state authority.

3) If it became law, it may also have unintended legal consequences — including possibly causing the two schools to breach their NCAA and conference membership contracts (changing scheduling or scholarships might violate membership contracts), and contracts with television networks and other private companies in business deals with schools over their football teams. Students losing out on scholarships if the penalty came to pass might also argue they are being legally harmed. 

Bottom line: It’s a bad bill, probably unlawful and might trigger other litigation that harms these two schools and their students.

We want to emphasize at this point that we want to see Texas play Texas A&M. We hold no particular allegiance to either football team, but this is too spite-filled a rivalry to rank as anything but appointment television. But if the stars are going to align to make a series resurrection possible, they’d better try it somewhere other than with House Bill 778.

10 comments
Homer Simpson
Homer Simpson

This is Texas.  It's not like it would be the first totally stupid law they passed down there.

Anonymous_Source
Anonymous_Source

There is too much hate. Children are raised to love one and loathe the other. Just let it die. If they happen to meet in a bowl. so be it.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

Guillen doesn't expect the bill to become law.

 

He does hope the stunt will win him a few more votes next election, however.

 

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Maybe the Texas legislature can gerrymander the two schools into one and call it an intramural game.

robert29
robert29

I don't see any legal issues: both are public, state institutions subject to control of the state legislature. Back in the 1980's there was proposed legislation in Kentucky for UK and Louisville to play basketball and football each year.  It proved unnecessary but if it prodded the games to be scheduled, it has worked out well and fans of both teams have had a lot of fun with the series. Texas & Texas A&M fans would surely welcome their series' resumption.

JohnT.Leslie
JohnT.Leslie

Not as bad as the one that made thru. Resolution passed giving high praise to Albert DeSalvo for population control. AKA THE BOSTON STRANGLER. It was intended to show how little attention is being paid to things. After all these years it is surely.......non at all.

airmark
airmark

Florida-Florida St. also had a bill introduced in the 60's to force the game to resume being played. The bill was not passed but it got the AD's of the schools to get together and work it out. Maybe thats what this is intended to do?

Anonymous_Source
Anonymous_Source

Did this guy even ask the schools if they want it? As an Aggie alum, I know I don't and I am not alone. Our school has moved on to bigger and better things. Our focus is elsewhere. We no longer care about the orange clad two fingered sideshow. It was never a "friendly rivalry" as far back as I can remember. It was filled with more negativity than I have ever seen elsewhere. As a result, it undermined the premise behind sport. If they want to play the Aggies, tell them to get their act together and face them in a bowl. Although, the way it is looking, their only chance may be to have some lunatic politician waste the tax payers time with ridiculous proposals and hope one sticks. Mr. Guillen, quit kicking the dead horse. It is over and the Aggies won the divorce.

 

I can't say this any more simply...the Aggies no longer care about the longhorns. We, as a whole, are much better off without them around. Let's talk about the Bama v. A&M game in week 3 instead.

 

 

SandHills
SandHills

I am thinking of the Carolina (SEC) - Clemson (ACC) game...I believe that game would never be pushed aside for conference scheduling priority (although if he wasn't winning, Spurrier may see the game a less important than the citizens of the state).  Both are state schools (UT and A&M), why couldn't state legislatures be able to step in to have a say?