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Bill would revive A&M-UT rivalry

Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 00:01

Rivalry house bill photo


The A&M-UT rivalry is the third most-played rivalry in Division 1-A college football.


Texas State Representative Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, filed House Bill 778 on Monday, an action that, if passed, would reinstitute a longstanding, recently discontinued in-state athletic rivalry.

Guillen, a Class of 2000 Aggie graduate, took to Twitter saying the bill would require UT and A&M to play each other annually in a nonconference, regular season football game.

The two schools met on the football field every year from 1914 through 2011, but an A&M move to the Southeastern Conference derailed the rivalry.

"This game is as much a Texas tradition as cowboy boots and barbecue," Guillen told The Texas Tribune. "The purpose of the bill is to put the eyes of Texas upon our two greatest universities to restore this sacred Texas tradition."

The bill doesn’t specify when the game should occur, but it does state that whichever team refused to participate in the contest would suffer restrictions on its athletic scholarships, reported the Texas Tribune.

"I think the people of Texas want a game, and we're trying to get them one," Guillen said.

There is some precedent for the filing. In 1955, a Florida Legislature bill that sought to require an annual Florida-Florida State game in all sports was struck down, but then-governor LeRoy Collins personally requested that the schools’ athletic directors work out a deal, which they eventually did.

In 1997, a similar bill was passed in North Carolina Legislature demanding University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and North Carolina State play East Carolina annually.

The Alabama House of Representatives also passed a similar measure in 1947 intended to encourage an Iron Bowl renewal between Auburn and Alabama. When the schools continued their impasse, the legislature threatened to withhold state funding unless the rivalry was resumed.

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