“We aim to hold the athletic department and university to a higher standard by not only asking them to keep their promise of condemning racism on our campus,” the statement said, “but to go beyond this by taking action to make Texas more comfortable and inclusive for the black athletes and the black community that has so fervently supported this program.”
Protests of racial injustice in the United States surged following the death last month of George Floyd in custody of the Minneapolis police.
Texas players want the university to replace “The Eyes of Texas” with a different song and lift the requirement for athletes to sing it. They asked the athletic department to donate 0.5 percent of its annual earnings to black organizations and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The players asked for the university to rename buildings named for Confederate figures or others with known racist views. The buildings listed are Robert Lee Moore Hall, Painter Hall, Littlefield Hall and James Hogg Auditorium. The players also asked the school to remove a statue of Hogg.
The players want the athletic department to create a black athletic history exhibit in the Hall of Fame and rename an area of Darrell K Royal — Texas Memorial Stadium for Julius Whittier, the first black football player at Texas.
The players’ list of requests also includes more diverse campus statues designed by artists of color, educational programs for incoming freshmen about the campus’ history of racism and inner-city outreach programs in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
“Here at the University of Texas, we live by the saying, ‘What starts here changes the world,’ ” the statement said. “The role of a student athlete at The University of Texas brings with it responsibilities beyond that of the average student. We are expected to serve as ambassadors for the university, our respective programs, the student body, and at times, the entire State of Texas. As ambassadors, it is our duty to utilize our voice and role as leaders in the community to push for change to the benefit of the entire UT community.”
The players asked for their requests to be addressed or a plan for their implementation to be in place by the start of the fall semester. They added that they plan to participate in all other team activities, including practices and workouts.
“Throughout our department and programs, we are encouraging our student-athletes, coaches and staff to speak up and become a part of the direct and difficult conversations that must take place in the days and weeks ahead,” Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte said in a statement May 31. “Their voices need to be heard and they are the leaders who can help us move forward. We must do our part in uniting our nation alongside them.”
Texas football coach Tom Herman, other staff members and players participated in a march to the state capitol last week.
“To my white friends and to my white family, I want to ask you this question: What if it was somebody that you loved? What if it was somebody else close to you?” junior safety Caden Sterns said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Again, like I said to my white friends and my family, ‘What if it was me?’ ”
The NCAA Board of Governors said in a statement Friday that they “encourage students to continue to make their voices heard on these important issues, engage in community activism and exercise their Constitutional rights.”