I wrote my first ever piece about the Texas Longhorns yesterday, one day before their Athletic Director was fired. Yup, less than two years on the job Steve Patterson was alleviated from his duties as the head man over the most prestigious brand in all of college sports. If you’re from anywhere besides Austin, this might come as a bit of a surprise. If you keep up with everything burnt orange, this is what you expected. Maybe not so soon, or at this time of the year, but this was bound to happen.
Steve Patterson was hired as Athletic Director on November 5, 2013, as he took over for DeLoss Dodds. Dodds was very well liked ‘round these parts, which might have something to do as to why he was the Athletic Director for 32 years. Steve Patterson, not so much. I have personally never met the guy, but I have seen him speak on many different occasions. He comes off as arrogant, condescending, and treated the loyal fan base as a consumer instead of family. I may be wrong, but I highly doubt it. I have read way too many articles in the local paper and seen way too many of his press conferences to not come away with that opinion.
When you’re the Athletic Director of the University of Texas you don’t really run the athletic department. You have the title, and you might THINK you do. But in reality, you don’t. You know who does? The guys with the checkbooks do, and there is plenty of cash money to go around. Did you forget this is Texas? Money is power ‘round here. Just last year one of the University’s BIGGEST boosters, Red McCombs, was HIGHLY critical over Patterson’s decision to hire current Head Football Coach Charlie Strong. Not to mention his $50 million donation to the school, which the business school bears his name. McCombs was quoted, as saying Strong was, “great position coach… not on a par with other candidate’s.” He did apologize a couple days later, but I wasn’t buying it.
Before the beginning of the 2015 season Patterson raised ticket prices to the football games by an average of 6%, meanwhile, the basketball prices increased by an average of 7%. His biggest downfall was treating the UT fans as like I said before, a consumer market. Texas was going to make its money regardless, in 2014, the Universities Athletic Program brought in, are you ready for this? $131 million in total revenue. You read that right, and how much did those student-athletes receive in cash compensation? $0.00. But that’s another story that we’ll tackle at another time. The point I’m trying to make is that the football team was coming off a 6-7 season, while the basketball team was sort of bouncing back from a 20-14 campaign, and Patterson wanted the Longhorn faithful to pay more money to see a worse product than what we are accustomed to? It’s like going out and paying 6% more for the new IPhone 6S when the IPhone’s from before had WAY better features. Make sense? Not going to happen.
He ruffled a lot of feathers and probably pissed off the wrong guys, at the wrong times. Let’s be honest, when was the last time an Athletic Director from a top tier program like Texas was fired 2 weeks into Football season? I tried to recollect a program, but to no avail. I’m never happy when someone loses his or her job, that’s a setback for any human being. No matter what the yearly income was. Former football player, Mike Perrin, who played for Legendary Coach Darrell Royal, has been named interim Athletic Director. Basically he’s there to collect a cool $750,000 until August 2016, while the President of the University Greg Fenves decides who the next victim thrown to the wolves, better known as the UT boosters is. I did speak highly critical of Mack Brown before as the Head Football Coach, but as Athletic Director, with people whom he has already made millions, if not billions of dollars with. Well, we might be talking about a match made in Longhorn heaven.