Steve Sarkisian sorry for not singing ‘Eyes of Texas’ after loss

Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman/USA TODAY NETWORK

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas coach Steve Sarkisian apologized for not staying on the field to sing “The Eyes of Texas” after the Longhorns’ loss to Oklahoma State and promised it would “never happen again.”

Controversy surrounding the postgame tradition erupted in 2020 when some players objected to singing it because of racist elements in its past. The Texas chapter of the NAACP even filed a civil rights complaint over its continued use.

Sarkisian had promised on the day he was hired in 2021 that his team would sing the song and the issue seemed to die down. But after Texas lost 41-34 last weekend, the coach and many of his players went straight to the locker room without staying on the field to sing as is team tradition.

The move drew attention on social media and Sarkisian opened his Monday press conference with an apology.

“I own an apology to Longhorn Nation. I made a mistake at the end of the game in not singing `The Eyes of Texas’ when the game was done,” he said. “That was not anything that was intentional. That was not anything that had to do with our players. I think our players just followed me up the ramp into the locker room.”

Sarkisian said he was upset with the way the game ended.

“That will never happen again,” Sarkisian said of the song omission. “Again, it was not intentional.”

“The Eyes of Texas” was written in 1903 and has a history of performances in minstrel shows with musicians often in blackface. For decades, it has been sung after games and graduation ceremonies, and is a popular singalong at weddings and even funerals.

In 2020, a group of athletes and students called for the school to drop the song amid racial injustice protests after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The school said athletes would not be required to sing it, although the main Longhorn bands would keep playing it.

School President Jay Hartzell, with the full backing of the university’s Board of Regents, said the song would stay and a school research panel determined there was “no racist intent” behind it.

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey suspended after arrest

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COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey was suspended from the team after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team said.

The 23-year-old, who was a team captain last season, was booked at about 2:45 a.m. and released after posting $500 bond, according to online records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are aware of the situation involving Chad Bailey,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s been suspended according to Department of Athletics policy. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes, on and off the field, and we will follow all departmental and campus policies.”

Bailey was Mizzou’s third-leading tackler with 57 stops last season. He started all 11 games he played, missing two with an injury. He’ll be a sixth-year senior this fall after opting to return for his final year of eligibility, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Missouri student-athlete handbook says any athlete who is arrested must serve a minimum one-week suspension.

Bailey was pulled over at about 1 a.m. not far from the Columbia campus for an expired license plate and lane violation, a police statement said. Bailey told the officer he had consumed alcohol and then performed poorly on a field sobriety test, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Nebraska’s leading rusher Anthony Grant suspended indefinitely

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LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska opened spring practice with running back Anthony Grant suspended indefinitely to work on academics and other issues, first-year coach Matt Rhule announced.

Grant led the team in rushing with 915 yards and six touchdowns last season. He also caught 18 passes for 104 yards.

“Working on academics and general things. Nothing bad other than just our standards as a program,” Rhule said. “That will be day by day. Good kid. Just have to get him going in the right direction.”

Rhule said kick returner and reserve receiver Tommi Hill also is suspended. He did not specify a reason.

Backup tight ends Chris Hickman and James Carnie and reserve cornerback Tyreke Johnson left the team.