What's the nature of former Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown's football-related business in Dubai?
A report now suggests that Brown isn't in the Middle East for the purposes of exploring the possibility of playing a football game there:
I am told Texas is not, on any level, entertaining the possibility of playing football in Dubai. Even if I could've used the air miles.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) April 22, 2015
The Austin American-Statesman confirmed a previous report that Brown was there on football-related business after Brown posted multiple pictures in Dubai, but stopped short of mentioning any discussions about playing a game there.
Brown arrived on Monday with former Longhorns David Thomas and Ricky Brown, the latter of whom now works for the Longhorn Foundation. Also on the trip with Brown and his wife, Sally, is athletics director Steve Patterson's wife, who speaks Arabic.
Why send Mack and two former football players, then? Well, presumably, they attract bigger crowds at fundraisers than the volleyball coach.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) April 22, 2015
Given the difficulties of scheduling a game so far away with no especially appealing venues, the trip certainly looked like an attempt to tap into the deep pockets of Texas alumni in the lucrative Middle Eastern oil business.
The photographic evidence and message board buzz supports the fundraising intents of the trip, as Brown posted several pictures with prominent members of the oil and gas industry:
Thanks to David Douglas and the group at Mubadala Petroleum. They have an amazing team doing great things! pic.twitter.com/ti9ZmU3NN2— Mack Brown (@ESPN_CoachMack) April 22, 2015
Really enjoyed visiting with Scott from Al Hosn Gas! Great Longhorn! pic.twitter.com/lZDpGrc6Hy— Mack Brown (@ESPN_CoachMack) April 22, 2015
So there's definite confirmation of Brown's fundraising efforts as talk of playing a game in Dubai dies down, which should help placate a fan base ready to criticize Patterson at any turn for his international aspirations.