OU-Texas is committed to staying at Fair Park in Dallas through 2025. Dallas civic leader Pete Schenkel announced the agreement Tuesday. You can read the Dallas Morning News story here.
The decision is not a surprise. In recent years, momentum to move the game to the schools’ campuses has been squelched, as Dallas made improvements to the Cotton Bowl stadium and increased the financial rewards for the schools. Both OU and Texas are paid $500,000, plus they split the ticket revenue at the 92,000-seat stadium. That means each school reaps over $5 million in raw cash, not counting the residual effects of the tradition, from fund-raising to academic recruiting to football recruiting.
And here’s what the Tuesday decision means. OU-Texas has an excellent chance at celebrating a 100-year anniversary in 2029.
The State Fair tradition began on Oct. 19, 1929, 10 days before the Black Tuesday stock market crash that kick-started the Great Depression. Every year since, the Sooners and Longhorns have played at the fairgrounds. Through World War II. Through Vietnam. Through the Civil Rights movement. Through the wishbone. Through Howard Schnellenberger and John Blake. Through the Longhorn Network. Through conference realignment.
Not many traditions last 100 years in American sport. This almost has and almost surely will.
For awhile, in the ‘90s and early 2000s, there was great anxiety over moving the game. Alternately, both schools have expressed an interest in taking the game to Norman and Austin. But the off-field value of the game now resonates with both schools, and both Bob Stoops and Mack Brown, who dueled as head coaches for 15 years, supported the game in Dallas. Charlie Strong now coaches the Longhorns; we’ll see his reaction to the tradition.
But the game is headed for a 100-year anniversary celebration. There is much to celebrate.