UT students voted overwhelmingly in favor of bringing back the UT and Texas A&M University rivalry game in an online campus-wide referendum Wednesday.
Out of almost 8,000 participants, 96.7 percent of students voted in support of reinstating the game to UT’s non-conference football schedule,” vice president Micky Wolf said.
“I don’t think that there’s anything that’s been voted on by the student body that’s received 97 percent support in a long time,” Wolf said. “There’s more support here than we were initially expecting … I think it is a great sign for the movement ahead.”
The referendum was intended to gauge student support for the initiative, but its results do not ensure the return of the game. Wolf said around 3,000 students at A&M participated in an online poll that was 94 percent in favor of bringing back the game. Longhorn football coach Tom Herman has also expressed support for the initiative.
“Any time the student body rallies around a cause, I think the powers that be listen,” Herman said in a press conference on Tuesday reported by The Daily Texan on Tuesday.
The last time UT football played A&M was in 2011 when UT won by two points. Wolf said because both schools’ non-conference schedules are booked for the next several years, the game may not become a reality until 2025.
Geography junior Gabi Paczkowska said she did not vote in the referendum but may have been more likely to if the game were to happen during her time on campus.
“I think rivalry is good because it promoted school spirit and a unity on campus, but it’s not really going to affect (current students),” Paczkowska said. “It would make me want to say ‘yes’ more if it was happening when I was here.”
Journalism freshman Landry Allred said she voted in support of the game in the referendum even though she will not be on campus when it takes place.
“I don’t really know the history behind (the rivalry), but I think it would be really fun,” Allred said.
Wolf said SG will continue to meet with A&M representatives to organize the return of the rivalry in the coming months. SG will also release a petition and create a Facebook page for the cause to allow others in the state to be involved.
“We are planning to kick off the Reinstate the Rivalry movement in the coming weeks to really start drumming up the general public support … while also showing that this is bringing Aggies and Longhorns across the state together,” Wolf said.
In last year’s SG campaign, the rivalry game was a key platform point for Wolf, a Plan II and Business Honors senior, and student body president Alejandrina Guzman.
Wolf said he and Guzman are confident that with proof of student support the game will become a reality.
“We definitely believe that this game is going to come back on the non-conference schedule, or we wouldn’t have asked students to vote on it to begin with,” Wolf said.