As an alumni and burnt-orange blooded fan it pains me to admit that UT athletics has become the real life version of the caricature out rivals and opponents paint us as. Belmont has done everything it can to earn the moniker, "Tea Sippers", since it began to capitalize on the successes of the late 2000's. Their arrogance was put on public display with the creation of the Longhorn Network, a product that is befitting of an internet broadcast channel like ESPN3, and will only succeed as a cable/satellite subscription channel if the football and basketball programs are regular fixtures in championship games, something that was taken for granted as recently as 2009 when LHN was being birthed, but history had shown is difficult to impossible to maintain. Dynasties come and go. But the fact is, many Longhorn fans are simply bandwagoners who will and do find other diversions when the teams are struggling. The "We are the Jones's" comments and "We're Texas" slogans scream of arrogance. But for arrogance to be tolerated the product must earn it. Something no major sport on campus has done for years, despite the biggest, best facilities, the highest paid coaches and every advantage a university could have.
It's painfully obvious that the only thing Belmont cares about is dollars on the bottom line. Accountability for wins? Nonexistent. We have a head football coach who's so complacent he shrugs off regular routs to his biggest rival with barely a whimper every October - and gets his contract renewed with huge bonuses for doing so. He has the worst Defensive Coordinator in college football with a puny record of achievement and keeps him on staff after the worst performance by a defensive squad in university history. Accountability, schmaccountability, how about a big fat raise for him, too? How's that basketball program doing after years of endeavoring to be a AAA NBA farm team? Women's hoops? Pathetic. Baseball? Sorry, Augie, since his first few seasons on campus he's been unable to put a quality team on the field.
And who's neck is on the line for the bad performances? No one's. No accountability. Well, as long as they're making money selling merchandise and fans show up on Saturdays nobody's blood pressure inside Belmont ticks up a lick. I'm pretty sick of it. The arrogance is wearing thin. DeLoss and Co. have overstayed their welcome from where I sit. They want us as fans to continue to beg our cable providers to carry their channel so they can keep the greenbacks flowing in and are content to hold the athletic product hostage from fans until we wail sufficiently. That strategy will only work if the product is a winning one, though. We won't demand access to mediocrity. And mediocrity is all that will be attained by coaches and administrators who don't hold themselves accountable and continue to reward simply showing up.
Is this just a bitch and gripe post not offering any solutions? You betcha. Because the only solution is cleaning house at Belmont, something nobody with influence or clout seems to give a shit about. Keep the cigars and bourbon flowing in the suites, keep the paychecks fat, keep the good 'ole boys dialed into the privilege of access to ballers, regardless of how the perform on gamedays. We are what our opponents derisively describe us as. I've always defended the program against those accusations as simply jealousy. My burnt-orange tinted glasses have been taken off and shown to me as just that. Wish it were different, and I look forward to the day when those currently in charge of the mess on the 40 Acres are gone, and I can enjoy the feeling of burnt-orange blood pumping through my veins again. Right now, the whole stinking UT athletics program is about as desirable in my entertainment choices as watching fishing on the Outdoor channel. Sad.