It's been long enough that many University of Texas and Texas A&M fans have but a vague memory of the last big Texas football matchup in 2011, before the Aggies made a landmark shift to the Southeast Conference and the heated Lone Star State rivalry was put on hold.
But that rivalry could soon be possible once again, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.
In the exclusive report, a "high-ranking college official with knowledge of the situation" told the publication that Big 12 giants Texas and Oklahoma had reached out to the SEC about joining the league.
School officials were less than eager to confirm the rumor.
UT told the Chronicle in a statement on Wednesday that "speculation swirls around collegiate athletics" and that they "will not address rumors or speculation." OU, meanwhile, said they "don't address every anonymous rumor" in a landscape that is "shifting constantly."
The schools weren't the only D1 powerhouses unhappy with the news. A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork was frank in his disapproval of the potential move.
"There's a reason why A&M left the Big 12: the way the Big 12 was operating and the governance," Bjork said Wednesday, according to the Chronicle. "A&M is a flagship university, and with the size and scale of our place, we should have our own stand-alone identity in our own conference. That's why A&M's leadership left at the time (in 2012), and that's what we want to continue."
Bjork said that the university hadn't heard anything about the rumors, but that he hopes that the SEC looks at the "bigger picture" instead of just adding the two programs.
How does Texas A&M feel about UT potentially joining the SEC? ... Not good. Not good at all.
"We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas."
-Ross Bjork, Texas A&M Athletics Director pic.twitter.com/pR17eM9aQK
— Jeff Jones (@JeffJonesSports) July 21, 2021
If three-fourths of SEC members vote "yes" to the move, the league would dramatically shift college football: the SEC would become the nation's first superleague in a time of upheaval including Supreme Court rulings and new name, image and likeness rights for players. A second Chronicle source told the publication that the traditional "amateur" model of play could no longer work for the NCAA in the coming years.
"Schools have worked so hard to hide the fact that the collegiate game is nothing but the NFL hiding behind the veil of education," the second source said. "You're going to see shifts happen like they've never happened before... but it's not going to happen for another three years."
The first source said that an announcement on the potential new SEC additions could come within a few weeks.
- Texas Longhorns football coach Tom Herman job on the line after ... ›
- Longhorns band will not play "Eyes of Texas" at football game ... ›
- UT quarterback Sam Ehlinger gets picked up by Colts in NFL draft ... ›
- Jake Ehlinger, brother of quarterback, Sam Ehlinger found dead ... ›
- Like the pros: Texas' college athletes can now profit off of their name ... ›
- UT, OU take first step toward leaving Big 12 for SEC - austonia ›
- Texas, Oklahoma officially request a move to the SEC - austonia ›
- Texas, Oklahoma invited to Southeastern Conference, leaving Big 12 - austonia ›
- Texas, Oklahoma invited to Southeastern Conference, leaving Big 12 - austonia ›
- UT is going SEC! Texas board of regents approves move to future superleague - austonia ›
- Austinite Hudson Card confirmed for starting quarterback in Week 1 Texas football - austonia ›
- Where to watch: Austin FC, Texas football highlight Labor Day weekend - austonia ›
- Kickoff times set for three Football home games - University of Texas ... ›
- UT-Austin football players say donor anger led to "Eyes of Texas ... ›
- The Texas Longhorns to be potentially picked in the 2021 NFL Draft ›
- “The Eyes of Texas” will have to be played by UT-Austin's Longhorn ... ›
- 2021 Big 12 spring football overreactions: Oklahoma leaning on ... ›
Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
- Willie Nelson to host cannabis convention for 88th birthday - austonia ›
- First hemp vodka in Texas makes its way to Austin - austonia ›
- Travis County approves first Texas Hemp Harvest Festival - austonia ›
- Delta 8 has landed in Austin: what is it and who uses it? - austonia ›
Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
- Austin downgrades to Stage 4 as COVID cases decline - austonia ›
- Joe Rogan incorrectly says vaccinated people cause mutant strains ... ›
- Everything you need to know about breakthrough cases in Austin ... ›
- After racing for a first dose of the vaccine, some Austinites find ... ›
- COVID in Austin: 9 ICU beds, alternate care site, booster shots ... ›