UT will play ‘The Eyes of Texas’ before and after football game against UTEP

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FILE – In this Nov. 10, 2018, file photo, Texas players sing “The Eyes of Texas” after an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. A group of University of Texas football players and athletes across several sports on Friday, June 12, 2020, urged the school to rename several campus buildings, change the traditional school song and donate a percentage of athletic department revenue to organizations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas plans to play “The Eyes of Texas” school song before and after Saturday’s football game against UTEP, a UT Athletics spokesperson told KXAN.

The school song has been a topic of discussion over the summer with its origins connected to the Confederacy and minstrel shows from the 1900s. In a list of requests to address historic racism on the UT campus, Longhorns student-athletes called on university leaders in June to get rid of the school spirit song and write a new song — which athletes would not be required to sing.

In July, UT leaders announced the university would keep “The Eyes of Texas” as a school song, but would make other changes around campus to “promote diversity, inclusion and equity and to more fully support Black students on campus.”

The university said it will “own, acknowledge and teach about the origins” of the song as it moves forward “while partnering with the campus community to re-imagine its future as a song that unites all Longhorns.”

In previous years, Texas Longhorns players were expected to stay on the field during the playing of “The Eyes of Texas.” On Tuesday, Texas junior safety Caden Sterns told the media he would not sing the song at this weekend’s season opener.

The Longhorns kick off against UTEP Saturday at 7 p.m. at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium. The Longhorns band will not be in the stadium due to COVID-19 precautions.

Texas head coach Tom Herman said the team will wear a patch on its jersey in a unified stance against racial inequality. The Big 12 Conference is providing each team with a helmet sticker as a statement against racism.

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