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Texas athletic director sets lofty expectations for SEC move, explains hype video

Griffin McVeigh03/09/22
(John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Texas Longhorns put out a hype video last week, showing all of the athletic accomplishments the school has achieved over the past few years. All types of sports were featured but the most interesting bit came at the very end when the SEC logo appeared with the city of Austin.

Athletic director Chris Del Conte was asked about the video during an interview with Bobby Burton of Inside Texas. He explained why it was put out on social media and what Texas is hoping to accomplish after people watch the two-minute video.

“That was the video that athletics produced for our capital campaign launch,” Del Conte said. “We had our public phase of the capital campaign and the idea that we have a $750 million goal, the University has a $6 billion goal. These are big, audacious goals. Big audacious goals. As Earl (Campbell) said, it’s not where we’ve been, it’s where we’re going that matters. Well, when you’re raising money and you’re setting a vision, you’re setting a tone as to what’s going to happen, that was the ending of the video was ‘hey, this is where we’re going’ and the expectation is that we’re still going to continue winning championships is there. No matter where we’re going, we’re going to need your help along the way. That was the crescendo and Jay said ‘yeah, hit send.’ It was spectacular.”

Texas Longhorns AD discusses why they chose the SEC

Naturally, the discussion was switched to the Longhorns and their pending move to the SEC. Del Conte talked about why he views the premier conference in football as a positive when compared to the Big 12. He cited both on and off-the-field issues, specifically, their neutral-site rivalry with Oklahoma.

“Now, the Southeastern Conference — I want to be very candid on this,” said Del Conte. “So many things have changed. Whether it be the tax laws, whether it be who we play at home. We don’t have a real rival at home. Our rival, we play at a neutral site. I loved our time in the Big 12 but we started to look where our brand is and where we’re going and what we need to do.”

Del Conte also discussed the conversation he had with President Jay Hartzell about the goals and potential opportunities Texas had from an athletic standpoint. He said the Longhorns are heading back home nearly 100 years later and are excited to bring back some old rivals.

“He goes ‘it’s time for us to look at opportunities’ and the Southeastern Conference was an opportunity that we looked at over the course of conversation. We put ourselves in a position with the SEC and they said ‘this is a good time for us.’ We needed to do something for Texas. Not playing A&M. Not having the traditional rivalries of Arkansas. Remember, in 1903, we were one of the original members of the Southeastern Intercollegiate Athletics Conference, which is a precursor to the SEC. I’m stretching it a little bit but we used to be there. Then we went independent, then we joined the Southwest Conference. So in essence, we’re just coming home.”

Texas has not played against Texas A&M on the football field since the 2011 season at Kyle Field. There have been a few pushes for the in-state rivals to schedule non-conference games against each other but neither athletic director has been able to make it work. As for Arkansas, the Longhorns traveled to Fayetteville this past season only to get beat.

Nonetheless, some of the program’s oldest rivalries will be making a return to Darrel K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.