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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Bringing back the rival game

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Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at Wednesdy’s A&M-UT charity exhibition basketball game one of his next goals is to reunite the A&M-UT football game 

During the Notre Dame–Texas game in September 2016, then economics freshman Chipper Adams was watching the game and began to wonder – why aren’t Texas A&M and Texas playing each other?
A year later, Adams would lead the launch of an independent student campaign “Reinstate the Rivalry” on Sunday aimed at bringing back the Texas A&M–Texas football game, which was last played in 2011.
“The idea is that we’re running a campaign, but instead of running a campaign for a candidate, we’re running a campaign for an idea,” Adams said.
As co-director of Reinstate the Rivalry, Adams said that although they are not associated with any organizations, students from all over campus are part of the movement.
During Texas’s student body voting in September, a referendum was held for students to vote on whether they were in favor of the game returning. Of the 7,761 students that voted, 96.7 percent said yes.
“We thought it was an important data point for President [Greg] Fenves and our athletic director, Mike Perrin,” Texas student body vice president Micky Wolf said. “We’ve been in contact with them throughout the spring and summer and something they were looking to understand was how would students feel about the game coming back.”
Wolf and Texas student body president Alejandrina Guzman were elected in March and renewing the annual A&M–UT football game was on both of their agendas. During their campaign, they approached former A&M student body president Hannah Wimberly about having a joint student-led movement.
“We had conversations with student leaders at A&M before putting it on our platform that ensured there would be interest from the A&M side and making sure we could get the movement going,” Wolf said.
While involved with Fish Aides his freshman year, Adams attended Student Government Association Executive Cabinet meetings as a member of the Legislative Relations Committee. At one meeting last spring, Wimberly explained Guzman and Wolf’s idea to student legislators — Adams decided to speak up.
“The goal was to get both student governments to start working on this project together,” Adams said. “I had some insight to offer and said something and at the end of the conversation she said ‘Chipper, do you want to be in charge of this?’ And I was like, ‘Absolutely.’”
Over the summer, Adams stayed in constant contact with Wolf, discussing ways the two student bodies could work together on this campaign.
Last spring, a similar survey to the Texas referendum was conducted at A&M, with the polling of 2,754 current students. From the informal survey, 94.3 percent voted in favor of playing the game again.
“When you project that to the 68,000 students we have on campus, the margin of error is only plus or minus two percent,” Adams said. “We’re really confident once we start rolling out our stuff, getting it on social media, get the word out, it’s going to go crazy with people on campus getting excited about it.”
At Texas, Wolf has had meetings with Fenves and Perrin to discuss his goal of bringing the game back.
“I think everyone’s coming to this with an open mind,” Wolf said. “I think that there’s some questions they wanted to see answered, which hopefully we did from the student perspective.”
Here in Aggieland, Adams has recently had initial conversations with higher administration, including A&M President Michael Young, and hopes to have official meetings soon.
“Some conversations have been in official capacities, and others have happened in passing, but administrators across the board have all expressed some interest in reinstating the rivalry,” Adams said.
Adams hopes to discuss the manner in particular with Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, who has been outspoken about restoring the game.
“We’re hoping he’s actually interested in bringing the game back,” Adams said. “I have not had a meeting with him yet … the first step for me was to gather this group of influential people because together we have enough influence to hopefully set up a meeting like that.”
As students, Adams said he feels the university is entitled to at least listen to what they have to say.
“We are the university, the students are the university,” Adams said. “If this is something students want, I think the administration has an obligation to at least play with the idea.”
By working together, Wolf said a joint effort could lead to something not seen before in groups and petitions that have worked to reconcile the game.
“There’s never been a united student movement to bring this game back,” Wolf said. “It’s something that alumni talk about, people talk about, but ultimately, we’re universities here and universities that serve their student bodies and those voices really matter at UT and A&M.”
Bringing back the game continues to build more steam as Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas class of 1981, showed his support of renewing the rivalry at Wednesday’s charity exhibition men’s basketball game between A&M and UT in Houston.
“My next goal as governor is to reunite the Texas-Texas A&M football rivalry,” Abbott said.
Moving forward, the group hopes to use a two-part process to spread awareness and get conversations started. The first motion is to create interest in current Aggies with on-campus events and through social media.
“I think the interest of the student body is ultimately at the heart of the campaign’s efforts and as such, I believe it is integral to achieve an understanding of what current and former students think about bringing back the game,” Sam Alders, management junior who serves as a senior advisor to Reinstate the Rivalry, said.
The next step is to gain traction with former students, which according to Adams will take different tactics, while catering to a different demographic with an emphasis on using the Aggie Network. Some of these tactics include going to A&M clubs, making phone calls and meeting former students to gain their support.
As for putting the game back on the schedule in the regular season, Adams said it’s unlikely to happen soon. Both teams have their non-conference schedules booked in upcoming seasons. Adams said the hopeful target season is 2026.
“We’re very far out from that and it’s very unfortunate, I would love to get to experience the game as a current student, but I know it’s not realistic,” Adams said. “Our idea is to bring the Texas game back as that premier non-conference game.”
As a third-generation Aggie, Adams said that the uniqueness and tradition of the storied rivalry is one that he believes is unparalleled.
“We believe that the rivalry we have with the University of Texas is so central to Texas A&M’s history, tradition and passion,” Adams said. “Our War Hymn is entirely about the University of Texas. When we had Bonfire, that was supposed to symbolize our burning hatred for the University of Texas. We are missing out on part of what it means to be an Aggie because we don’t get to take it out on them on the football field every Thanksgiving.”

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