Texas A&M

Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

UT’s portion of the Permanent University Fund (PUF) might be cut in half to help fund The University of Houston. 

Last week, Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) laid out a bill and constitutional amendment before the House Higher Education Committee that, if passed, would be a step toward adding UH to the PUF, an endowment that is currently designated to fund university operations at the UT and Texas A&M systems through the Available University Fund (AUF).

Chief financial officer Mary Knight said this could have a significant financial impact on the university.

“As far as the overall budget, a hundred million dollar reduction to any of our sources would be a very major reduction to the budget,” Knight said. “A lot of research and scholarships are funded from the AUF, so we would have to make reductions somewhere to be able to account for this.” 

Since the state constitution dictates that only UT and A&M receive the funds, the constitution must be amended to add UH to the short list of the fund’s recipients. Additionally, Turner’s complimentary bill must pass.   

Currently, $263 million of UT’s $2.658 billion budget comes from the PUF, according to Knight. UT receives two-thirds of the $17 billion fund, while A&M receives one-third of the money. Turner’s proposals would cut UT’s portion and transfer part of it to UH, granting each institution one-third of the fund. 

At Wednesday’s hearing, Turner said he thinks The University of Houston is underfunded compared to A&M and UT. This year The University of Houston received $143 million in general revenue state appropriations compared to about $262 million and $252 million at UT and A&M, respectively. 

The University of Houston, which is Texas’s third tier-one research institution alongside UT and A&M, should become Texas’s third flagship university, according to Turner. 

“We do need to have a major conversation, and we do need to find ways of making sure we have additional flagship universities that are funded at the same or similar levels to benefit other students as we move forward,” Turner said at the hearing Wednesday.

Shaun Theriot-Smith, civil engineering junior and University of Houston student government president, said he believes UH is deserving of the PUF funding but said it should not come at the financial expense of UT and A&M. 

“As far as the student perspective goes, any chance to increase funding for the University is always a good thing, but I don’t think any [UH] student is really interested in a situation which might compromise another University, such as UT or A&M,” Theriot-Smith said. “It would result in A&M or [UT] receiving a smaller slice of the pie, but there’s a way to apportion for [UH] in a way that would not compromise the financial stability of [UT] or A&M.” 

University spokesperson Gary Susswein declined comment on the legislation, which is pending in committee. 

Student government president Xavier Rotnofsky said he thinks legislators should consider the impact that cutting PUF funds will have on UT when engaging in a conversation around adding The University of Houston to the PUF. 

“Public institutions in Texas should be involved in the dialogue of appropriations, but we have to keep in mind the impact that cutting from PUF to UT would have considering the population size of not only UT-Austin but also the UT system as a whole,” Rotnofsky said. “We get a lot of our funding from PUF, so it’s a huge asset of ours. We have to keep in mind the impact of adding another entity.”

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Texas swept its opponent Wednesday for the second time in as many matches, defeating No. 53 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 4–0. The No. 9 Longhorns came into the match on the heels of a 4–0 victory over unranked UTSA, highlighted by a strong performance by junior Nick Naumann, who won both his singles and doubles matches in straight sets.

Wednesday’s match featured a different lineup for the Longhorns, as No. 44 senior Lloyd Glasspool replaced senior Søren Hess–Olesen at the No. 1 singles spot. Coming into the match, Hess–Olesen was looking to reach his 100th win at the singles position for the Longhorns, but head coach Michael Center benched him in order to give him some rest before the high-profile match against No. 2 Baylor next Wednesday.

The Longhorns got off to a hot start once again Wednesday, winning both doubles lines in straight sets. The team of Naumann and junior Michael Riechmann finished first for Texas, winning at the No. 3 doubles by a score of 6–3. The pair of senior Adrien Berkowicz and sophomore George Goldhoff followed with a victory at the No. 2 doubles line with a score of 6–2.

Texas’ dominance continued at the singles position, as the team rallied off three consecutive victories, all in straight sets. The underclassmen on the Longhorns’ roster shined at the singles positions, as Goldhoff claimed victory at the No. 3 singles line with a score of 6–2, 6–1, and freshman John Mee won at the No. 6 singles line with the same score. Mee’s victory was the fourth — second against a ranked team — in his past five singles matches.

The match was the Longhorns’ last nonconference competition of the season. Texas finished the season with a 16–2 record against nonconference opponents and was 5–2 against nonconference opponents ranked in the top 20 of the ITA rankings.

The Longhorns have two matches left in their season before the Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championship, which takes place April 24–26 in Waco. Both matches will be against Big 12 opponents, starting with a battle of two of the conference’s best teams. Texas concludes its home schedule against Baylor next Wednesday at the Caswell Tennis Center in Austin.

Junior outfielder Lindsey Stephens and the Longhorns look to extend their eight-game winning streak against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

After sweeping Texas State this past weekend in a two-game stint, Texas faces Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Red and Charline McCombs Field on Tuesday.

The Longhorns (26–9) have earned an 11–3 record at home, winning the last three on walk-offs. Proudly possessing an eight-game win streak, Texas, which has outplayed Texas A&M-CC on the stat sheet this season, looks to extend its success against the Islanders, who are on a four-game streak of their own but control a mere 7–8 away record. 

With early boosts proving effective, the Longhorns have scored in the first inning in seven straight and have hit a total of 51 runs in the first frame this season — almost a quarter of the team’s run total and the most scored in any inning.

Texas will have the offensive advantage in Tuesday’s nonconference matchup. In their 26 wins, the Longhorns have come from behind in 10 of them, posting five walk-off victories. 

Outscoring the Islanders (12–21–1) this season 223–119, the Longhorns have more than doubled their opponent in triples and near-doubled in RBIs. The Islanders have hit 15 long balls, just three more than junior outfielder Lindsey Stephens alone.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi struggled early on, losing its first eight games before posting a tie against South Dakota and then losing three more. Since then, the Islanders have earned a 12–10 record, defeating opponents ranging from Houston to Nicholls to Sam Houston State — their great margin of victory of the season: six.

In the circle, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi sophomore pitcher Liz Carter allows over just over 3.5 runs per seven innings, striking out 75 in 129 innings. In 23 fewer innings, Texas ace freshman Erica Wright boasts a 2.44 ERA with 102 strikeouts.

From behind the bat, the Islanders maintain a solid lineup with team-leading senior shortstop Hayley Galloway batting .321, followed by senior outfielder Mickayla Cochran and sophomore catcher Brittney Morse batting .307 each. 

Yet the Longhorns’ top four batters rank higher than all of the Islanders, led by Wong hitting with a .387 average and followed by Stephens, Shireman and junior first baseman Holly Kern with .368, .333 and .330, respectively.

On an individual level, hitting just below .300, sophomore shortstop Devon Tunning has reached base in a career-best 20 straight games. Just behind her, sophomore outfielder Stephanie Wong has reached in 18 straight, and Stephens and junior catcher Erin Shireman have both reached in 10 straight.

After the game against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., Texas will host Oklahoma at home Friday.

After cruising to a 4–1 victory against No. 22 Texas Tech on Saturday, No. 9 Texas will square off against two unranked opponents this week, taking on UTSA on Tuesday and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday. 

Both matches will be home matches for the Longhorns, as Tuesday’s match will be at the Caswell Tennis Center, and Wednesday’s will be at the Westwood Country Club. 

The week’s matches will be Texas’ first back-to-back since the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The contracted schedule for the Longhorns is the result of a rainout against UTSA on March 2. 

The two matches will provide the Longhorns an opportunity to fine-tune certain aspects of their game, especially at the doubles positions. Texas has lost the doubles point in its previous two matches, with three losses from the doubles lines coming in tiebreakers.

Following this week’s matches, the Longhorns will have a week off before facing off against No. 2 Baylor on April 15 at the Caswell Tennis Center in Austin. 

It will be the Longhorns’ fifth match this year against a top-10 opponent, and it will be the penultimate match of the season for Texas before the Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championship on April 24.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas baseball team surrounded head coach Augie Garrido after Tuesday’s 6–4 comeback win over Texas State.

Despite the win, Garrido was visibly frustrated with the team’s performance. It was Texas’ second-straight midweek game in which they struggled, after last week’s extra-inning loss against UT-Arlington, 6–5.  

Garrido said he wasn’t upset; rather, he wanted the Longhorns to learn from their Tuesday night struggles.

“I’m not angry,” Garrido said. “I’m just trying to explain to them why we have to be disciplined and why we have to come ready to compete and what it takes to get to the next step. We’re not at the level of championship baseball.”

But No. 12 Texas (17–11, 5–1 Big 12) will look to rid itself of the midweek blues Tuesday night against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Longhorns host the Islanders (11–12, 3–6 Southland), who are coming off a 2–1 series loss against Stephen F. Austin. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi enters the contest having lost seven of its last eight.

The Longhorns will try to right the ship Tuesday night after a disappointing sweep against Nebraska this weekend. The Longhorns struggled at the plate, where they were held to three runs on 12 hits in the three-game series against the Cornhuskers.

The Longhorns will also look to solve their mid-week pitching problems. In Texas’ loss to UT-Arlington, starting sophomore pitcher Kacy Clemens threw four innings and only allowed one run, but Texas’ bullpen gave up five runs and blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning.

After the snafu in Arlington, Garrido moved pitcher Josh Sawyer to the Tuesday starting role in hopes of revitalizing the struggling sophomore lefty.

But in his first Tuesday start of the season, Sawyer got rocked early against Texas State. He gave up a home run on the first at-bat of the game. Sawyer only lasted three innings and gave up two runs.

“We wanted to see what [moving Sawyer] would do one way or another,” Garrido said. “We’ll find the answer to this.”

The Longhorns will need a good outing from their starting pitcher Tuesday night, as Texas looks to get return to championship-level baseball. 

“We can’t just flip that switch,” Garrido said. “If you’re going to get better, you have to learn something from last Tuesday and apply it to this Tuesday. … We have to be able to win a lot of games in a row and be able to win after you lose and win on Tuesday when you’re really tired.”

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

In the midst of what has already been a solid season, the Texas women’s track and field program produced another strong showing this weekend at Mike A. Myers Stadium at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. 

With three meet wins and a multitude of other medals, the Texas women represented the Longhorns with a list of accolades in country’s top track meets.  

Sophomore distance runner Sandie Raines finished second in the open 1500 meters with a time of 4:20.63, beating out many professionals along the way, to start Texas’ day Saturday. Along with Raines, freshmen Caitland Smith and Shania Collins each took home medals as well, finishing second and third, respectively, in the women’s open 200 meters.

But junior Morolake Akinosun turned in the highlight of the Longhorns’ performance over the weekend. Akinosun, who was named the Texas Relays’ most outstanding college performer, was in three of the four first-place events for Texas, with senior Ryan Crouser collecting the other win for Texas.

The first win came down to a close finish in the 4x100-meter race. The team of senior Morgan Snow, senior Ashley Spencer, junior Courtney Okolo, and Akinosun trailed Texas A&M out of lane five throughout the race — until Akinosun got her shot. With the last handoff, Akinosun grabbed the baton and overtook A&M sophomore Aaliyah Brown, achieving victory by less than two tenths of a second.

In the 100 meters, Akinosun took care of business by herself, clocking a blazing 10.94 seconds, albeit with the help of a 5.1m/s wind. 

To close out the Texas Relays, the 4x400-meter relay, now named the Sanya Richards-Ross Invitational 4x400 Meter Relay, also came down to a close finish. Texas A&M got out to a large lead early on, but in the final lap, A&M’s anchor quickly fell off, giving way to the rest of the field. Florida made the early push and Arkansas came close, but Texas freshman Ariel Jones pushed her way to the front of the pack. She edged out the Gators, claiming a victory for Texas. 

The No. 3 women’s team and the rest of the Longhorns now head into next week’s meet at Stanford with strong momentum.

Check out our slideshow from this year's Texas Relays now:

The UT System Board of Regents authorized Mark Houser to become the CEO of the University Lands Office on Tuesday.

Houser, president and CEO of EV Energy Partners, LP and executive vice president and chief operating officer of EnerVest, Ltd, will be the first person named to the CEO position. The position was created “as part of a long-term plan to better manage and protect university lands,” according to a UT System press release.

The University Lands comprise 2.1 million acres of land in West Texas that the Texas Constitution in 1876 to provide support for higher education granted to UT and Texas A&M to provide support for higher education. The revenue from leases for gas and oil on the land have contributed to the Permanent University Fund, which is worth $17.5 billion today.

Jeff Hildebrand, Board of Regents member and CEO of Hilcorp Energy Company, an independent oil and gas exploration company, said the changes in the way oil is extracted in the energy industry has led to the need for increased leadership.

“The dynamic of University Lands has changed, and our management philosophy should change accordingly,” Hildebrand said. “We need a leader and expert in the field to ensure we are managing the land efficiently and getting the most value from University Lands for the benefit of UT and A&M students for generations to come.”

A group made up of informal advisory experts and an energy management consulting firm called Opportune, hired by the UT System, made recommendations in 2013 about additional staff for the University Lands office. The recommendations were meant to improve the functionality of the office.

“We expect a significant return on an investment in leadership and additional staff in the University Lands Office, and that return will directly benefit UT and A&M institutions,” said Scott Kelley, executive vice chancellor for business affairs at the UT System.

Houser will be stepping down from his position at EV Energy Partners at the end of February.

UT and Texas A&M set aside a long-standing rivalry and worked together on the seventh Orange & Maroon Legislative Day to advocate for the schools’ common legislative priorities, such as state funding for research.

UT and A&M students and alumni met with state legislators at the Capitol on Wednesday to discuss education and research needs. The institutions’ priorities are restoring state higher education budget cuts, building research centers and supporting tier-one research. A constant theme throughout the discussions was stabilizing, or possibly decreasing, tuition costs without compromising current research and education standard. 

Student Government President Kori Rady attended the event and said he was glad to be working with A&M students to set goals for the 84th legislative session.

“I think we are all in tune with what is really important, which is getting our education at our institutions and others in higher ed funded at the right level and the level that keeps them at their high standing and competitive — not only in Texas but nationally,” Rady said.

Mark Hussey, interim president of Texas A&M, said funding for higher education has a large effect on the state. 

“Texas A&M and the University of Texas make a difference in our state, and any help the state can provide to enhance our impact will be greatly appreciated,” Hussey said. 

According to President William Powers Jr. at a press conference for Orange & Maroon Legislative Day, the funding should be restored in order to continue the universities’ research. Powers said the funding would be beneficial to the state because every dollar of state money spent on UT or A&M results in $18 back in the Texas economy.

“[Research] has a tremendous impact on the Texas economy,” Powers said. “Texas A&M and the University of Texas combined attract $1.5 billion in research each year and put that back in the Texas economy.”

Since 2009, funding from the state for daily operations, such as building maintenance, teacher salaries and funding for classes, has
been decreasing.

In 2009, the University received $62.19 per semester credit hour from state funding, compared to this year’s $54.86.

At the press conference, Sen. Zaffirini (D-Laredo) said she believes the key to more affordable higher education for students is adequate state funding.  

“I get so sick and tired, quite frankly, about people who complain that higher education costs are too high,” Zaffirini said. “Why are they too high? Because they are not funded appropriately. There is a direct relationship between the level of state appropriations and the level of tuition.”

Powers said Texas A&M and UT have lower tuition costs than many universities nationwide. He said UT works to maintain low tuition costs and that it was important to keep tuition low while still maintaining a high-quality education. 

“We work very hard on efficiency, and we work very hard on affordability,” Powers said. 

Powers said tuition costs can be lowered by innovative course curriculum and four-year graduation rates.

“One of the best ways to bring the cost down is students graduating on time,” Powers said. “We are constantly trying to and effectively bringing the cost structure down.”

Freshman forward Myles Turner takes a jump shot against Baylor on Saturday in Texas’ 83–60 defeat. After three straight losses, the Longhorns continue to fall in the college basketball rankings.
Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

Despite the end of their conference rivalry, Texas and Texas A&M still find ways to compete off the playing field. The latest battle between the two played out in the men’s basketball AP poll, in which Texas beat out Texas A&M for the last spot in the top-25.

Although Texas outranked Texas A&M for the 25th spot, this week’s AP poll marks the latest fall in the rankings for the Longhorns after their worst loss of the season — an 83–86 loss at Baylor on Saturday. Texas opened at No. 10 in the AP Poll in the preseason but has fallen sharply with three straight losses to conference opponents.

Elsewhere in the Big 12, Kansas moved up one spot to eight while Iowa State jumped four spots to 11.

Big 12/SEC Challenge moved

Conference play typically marks the beginning of a long and gruelling stretch without much a break.  But next year, Big 12 teams will get a bit of a break in January to step outside of the rigorous conference schedule.

The Big 12 and SEC announced Thursday that their annual Big 12/SEC challenge will move from December, when it has been played in recent years, to Jan. 30 starting next season.

While the SEC boasts perennial powerhouse Kentucky and a top contender in Florida, the rest of the conference doesn’t quite match up to other top basketball conferences. That should give Big 12 teams the respite they need for the second half of conference play.

In this season’s tournament, Texas drew a challenging game at Kentucky against the Wildcats. But, given the overall talent level in the SEC, most teams should be able to pick up easy wins.

Matchups will be announced at a later date.

OU’s Spangler takes home Big 12 weekly award

The Big 12 named Oklahoma junior forward Ryan Spangler the Big 12 Player of the Week on Monday, after being a key factor in the Sooners’ wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech last week. Spangler posted a season-high 20 points in the 81–36 shellacking against the Red Raiders and followed it with 13 points against the Cowboys. He combined for a 78.6 shooting percentage and was 10-of-13 from the free throw line.

Big 12 names Cyclone guard conference newcomer of the week

Although he is relatively unknown among the nation, senior guard Bryce Dejean-Jones is starting to become a familiar name in the Big 12 — and to Texas. The Big 12 named Dejean-Jones Newcomer of the Week on Monday after averaging 17 points in the Cyclones’ wins over Texas and TCU last week. Dejean-Jones scored 18 points against the Longhorns before tallying 16 points against TCU. He also averaged a 77 percent field goal percentage in the two games.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

For senior outside hitters Haley Eckerman and Khat Bell, the upcoming NCAA tournament will be a bittersweet moment.

On the one hand, the duo is ready to get going on another run toward a national championship; however, they know that any game from here on out could be their last in a Texas uniform.

“We want it to start, but then we don’t want it to,” Eckerman said. “We just know that we have to go in one game at a time.”

The Longhorns’ road back to the Final Four will go back through Austin and then through Minneapolis. Sunday, Texas was announced as the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament.

Joining the Longhorns in Austin for the first and second rounds, respectively, is Northwestern State, Texas’ opponent Thursday,  and then either Arizona State or Texas A&M — the third-straight year the selection committee has tried to put the two rivals against each other in the second round.

If another edition of the instate rivalry occurs, Bell said it would be like playing Oklahoma.

“Texas is our home state, and we want to own our home state as well,” Bell said.

For the second time in the past three years, the Longhorns enter the tournament off of a loss in the regular season finale after losing a difficult five-set match to Florida on Saturday afternoon. In the loss, Texas failed to capitalize off of 16 Florida
service errors.

Still, the last time Texas entered the tournament after a loss in 2012, the Longhorns went on to win the national championship. Eckerman said the loss to Florida refocused them and motivated them not to let that losing feeling occur again.

“That’s what happened in 2012; we didn’t want to feel that feeling of sitting in the locker room knowing that we had just lost,” Eckerman said. “So that gave us some motivation to change and move forward.”

Although Texas will face a difficult challenge in the second round — no matter whether the opponent is Texas A&M or Arizona State — the Longhorns’ path to get back to the Final Four in Oklahoma City is considered by many to be the easiest of the top-four overall seeds.

The next highest seeded team in Texas’ region is No. 7 North Carolina, which Texas would possibly face in the “Elite Eight.” The Longhorns have a potential “Sweet 16” matchup with tournament dark horse No. 15 Colorado State.

Even with a “weaker” regional bracket, head coach Jerritt Elliott said their focus is on their first two rounds.

“Both Arizona State and Texas A&M are very, very good,” Elliott said. “They’re both a threat.”

But, looking ahead toward her final games as a Longhorn, for Bell, it would mean everything to go out as a two-time national champion.

“To end my senior season with that win would be great,” Bell said.