The Texas Longhorns will play "The Eyes of Texas" after football games throughout the season, even though the Longhorn Band will not be present for Saturday's game against Baylor.
University president Jay Hartzell said in a statement Wednesday that the school never planned for the band to perform at the Baylor game. The Daily Texan reported earlier that a survey of band members about the school song revealed that the band would not perform because "we do not have the necessary instrumentation," according to a message sent to band members from director Scott Hanna. The band has yet to perform at a game this season, and "The Eyes" has been played over the public-address system.
This summer, Texas players called for the song to be removed, citing its origins at a minstrel show featuring performers in blackface in 1903. Texas coach Tom Herman and players have repeatedly discussed "The Eyes" since an Oct. 10 game against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl. After the game, only quarterback Sam Ehlinger and a few coaches remained on the field for the playing of the song, while others went to the locker room.
"'The Eyes of Texas' will be played this weekend as it has been throughout this season -- and it will continue to be played at future games and events," Hartzell's statement read. "While we would love the band to be with our fans at all our games, we never planned for them to perform live this Saturday. We knew this summer that, as we make our campus a more welcoming place, we would face many hard conversations. I remain truly optimistic that we will find ways to join together around our song, which has been so positive for so many Longhorns over the past 120 years."
Herman on Monday said there is no mandate for players to stay after games for the playing of "The Eyes," though athletic director Chris Del Conte last week told players that he expects them to remain on the field for the song.
"The only understanding I have is that we, as coaches, have encouraged them to appreciate and respect our fans," Herman said Monday. "That has been echoed by Chris Del Conte as late as last week. ... The Cotton Bowl, the song with no band and the song being delayed when it was, I think there was a lot of confusion, to be honest with you, postgame. Being a home game, we know exactly where to go and what to do, and the expectations and encouragement have been the same now as it was months ago."