Texas Cowboys receive additional extension to accept six-year ban

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Photo Credit: Angela Wang | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas Cowboys have received another extension to May 9 to make a decision to accept, appeal or request a formal hearing for their six-year suspension after a University investigation revealed the spirit organization had hazed members in the fall of 2018 and previous semesters, according to an open record request filed by The Daily Texan

During their investigation, the University found evidence of hazing during last year’s initiation retreat, such as physical brutality, animal cruelty, forced ingestion of unwanted substances and coerced consumption of alcohol, according to the report. The Cowboys originally were given a deadline of April 16 to make their sanction decision. However, they requested an extension and were then given until today. 

Instead of making a final decision, the Cowboys today requested an additional 30-day extension, according to an email obtained by the Texan through an open records request. The email was signed by alumni association president Eddie Lopez and an unnamed Texas Cowboys student, due to federal privacy reasons. The email requested the extension to “work on a conference resolution in partnership with the University.”

 

A conference resolution is where “the accused registered student or sponsored student organization … may respond to the charges,” according to the Section 6-503 of UT’s codes of conduct. 

“We want to do the hard work of reform,” the email said. “We want to work with (the) University to come up with a plan that will serve to educate and mobilize our student members … not only to combat hazing, but to lead the fight against it.” 

The email was sent to Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly and Vice President for Legal Affairs Jim Davis. Reagins-Lilly’s response, obtained through an open record requests by the Texan, denied the Cowboys their 30-day request and instead granted them 15 days. According to Reagins-Lilly’s email, the Cowboys will work with Davis until then to discuss their proposal, and Davis will be the one to “determine whether there is a basis to extend the deadline to May 23.”

“I am willing to consider a conference resolution if it can move us toward disrupting the culture of hazing within the Texas Cowboys and the University at large,” Reagins-Lilly said in her email.

 The Cowboys remain under their cease and desist instructions, Reagins-Lilly said in her email. 

The hazing investigation started last fall at the Cumberland family’s request after their son, Nicky, sustained fatal injuries in a car crash on the way back from last year’s annual Cowboy retreat. Cowboys who had attended the retreat told the Cumberlands that hazing had taken place before the group left. The Office of Student Conduct did not find evidence to support that hazing in the form of sleep deprivation occurred, according to the report.

Nicky’s father Shawn Cumberland wrote in an emailed statement that this additional said this additional extension is a disappointment. 

“This just goes to show how powerful and influential the Cowboys are,” the statement said.  “They feel that they deserve an entitled position and are able to force their will upon the University.”

The Texas Cowboys did not respond to comment.