Big 12 Q&A with the University of Texas Daily Texan
This Q&A is part of a series of stories in collaboration with student papers around the Big 12 to help BYU fans get acquainted with their new conference. This is my conversation with Nick Hargroue, a sports reporter with The Daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin.
Q: What’s it like to be a sports fan at a Big 12 school and how does it bring a different excitement or level of intensity to the sporting events?
A: As a Big 12 school, when you go to sporting events, it’s just super, super, super energetic. Everybody in the Big 12 is big on every sport. So when you go to a game, people are going to be talking their smack, people are going to get up in your face. The Big 12 is all about, “We don’t like you, you don’t like us, and we’re okay with that.” It really kind of stays on the football field, because I think most fans get along for the most part.
Q: There seems to be a unity that you feel between the different schools in the Big 12. Is that something that you’ve felt as you’ve interacted with students from different schools within the Big 12?
A: I feel like the students don’t hate each other. It’s more of like, “We respect y’all,” because everybody in the Big 12 has both athletic and academic excellence. So it’s not like there’s just one school that’s like, really, really dumb. We all understand that this is sports, and we’re gonna hate you inside of sports. I’ve talked to people from Oklahoma, and they’re really cool and we get along and we have a lot of the same views on stuff. So I feel like there is this overarching sense of camaraderie and brotherhood within the conference.
Q: What’s the feeling around campus there of how long UT will be in the Big 12 and whether or not you’ll be around for the BYU expansion that happens in 2023?
A: That’s a good question. So what I’ve kind of got the sense of is that Texas wants to get out before 2025. They don’t want to wait out the entire media rights deal, so if I had to guess it would be either next year or the year after. So 2022 or 2023. There might be some overlap, but the thing is, there’s a $75 million buyout, so that’s what’s holding the transfer process back. I think that there’s a decent chance that Texas is out before expansion, but I feel like it’s 50/50 at this point.
Q: What was your reaction as you started to hear that BYU and these other schools were involved in Big 12 expansion talk?
A: I thought it was really cool. I’ve always thought that schools like Houston, BYU and UCF are always pretty relevant in national sports like basketball, baseball and football. Y’all are pretty relevant within that scope. Y’all are really good at sports. I feel like you’re always really relevant, so I think it’s exciting to see more competition within the conference.
Q: When the teams maybe aren’t as good, but they’re still within the Big 12, is there still that excitement at the stadium, even if it’s not a ranked matchup?
A: Yeah, for sure. Especially in the student section. It depends with general admission, because sometimes people just don’t go to the game since the team’s not as good, but for the student section, it’s always packed. The students always show out because a lot of us are from Texas, so our friends go to other colleges in the Big 12. So it’s like a really big smack talk point. We can be like, “Oh, we just destroyed your team,” and you can kind of rag on them for like the next year. So even if they’re bad we still want to beat y’all.
Q: What about for a team like Kansas or Kansas State that’s maybe not in-state, doesn’t have the in-state rivalry, is there still a decent amount of excitement because it’s a conference matchup?
A: Yeah, I mean, specifically for Texas, it’s more like every team in the country wants to beat us. For example, Arkansas, they aren’t even in our conference anymore, and then they storm the field after they beat us. It’s like every team hates us because they ain’t us and that’s okay. So we kind of take on a villain role. Every time we go to a game, we’re expecting the other team to give their all. We are like the Cowboys in the NFL. It’s like every team wants to beat them so badly because they have the most media attention. The same thing with the Longhorns.
Q: Lastly, were you around for the Taysom Hill game back in 2014?
A: I wasn’t around but I was scrolling YouTube the other day and I saw, “Taysom Hill against Texas,” and I was like, “I don’t remember watching the game.” And then I was like, “Ah, I do remember because he rushed for like 300 yards.” He ran over us. We could not tackle.
Stay tuned for more collaborations with Big 12 schools in the coming weeks and months.