Let's do something right.
Major conference realignment appears certain even though Tech's ultimate destination is anything but. We have been at the perpetual mercy of Texas and Texas A&M; at first with the on-off-on-off-again, er, imminent, departure to the Pac-10, which would have been my preference, and now with the Big-12 collapsing as A&M (and perhaps Missouri) flee for the SEC.
Hopefully we will end up in a recharged Pac-10. But that will depend at least in some small part on overcoming the justifiable perception that Texas Tech is not in the same academic universe as the UCLA or Berkleys of the world.
We are not a respected academic institution. Although the State is finally pushing towards more tier one public Universities, we are in the middle of both national and state budget crises which are already causing massive cuts in public education in a State that is running out holes to fall down. Disturbingly:
From fiscal years 2002 to 2006, average tuition and fees at public universities increased 61.4%. Average tuition and fees at community colleges increased 51.3%.
From fiscal years 2002 to 2007, the Texas state budget was cut in terms of real dollar, per-student funding for universities by 19.92%; for community colleges the per-student cut was 35.29%.
California has nine nationally recognized research institutions; New York has seven; Pennsylvania has four; while Texas, the second most populous state in the nation, has only three.
Out of Texas’ 145 public and private higher education institutions, only one private institution, Rice University, ranked among the nation’s top 50.
Conference realignment exposed a symptom of this; conferences that take academics seriously aren't going to consider Tech desirable on our own unless and until we raise our academic profile. It is unfortunate and pathetic that Tech must ride the coattails of Texas, or Oklahoma, or Texas A&M, in order to sneak our way into a conference we want. Whatever happens with this round of realignment, Texas Tech fans, students, supporters, and alumni have a responsibility to ensure that next time, whenever that day comes,Texas Tech will be a valued addition to any conference, and on our own merits.
Getting there will not just happen, and we can't sit around waiting for the legislature, which has its own problems, to solve what is fundamentally our problem. We need to take education more seriously, today, and not merely to improve our lot in the academic pecking order so as to better leverage more enticing athletic conference placement. Education is the the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. In other words, it is sacred pursuit to improve the human condition and its advancement is therefore almost as important as drinking.
So go give the school some fucking money. I don't have a lot of it, but I'm going to give $100 to the "Quest for Tier 1" Fund (additional information available here) and will match the first DTN reader's $100 gift to Texas Tech by donating another $100 to the Mary W. Doak Grant Endowment (more information here, Mary Doak was the first Dean of Women at Texas Tech and was also my great-great grandmother).
I and many other Tech fans could also improve Texas Tech's national footprint by doing a better job treating other people, even fans of hated rivals, more like adults. I will try harder and encourage others to as well, not in response to mickey mouse accusations of classlessness, but because treating others respectfully is moral and virtuous and quintessentially West Texan.
I also sincerely believe that this:
and of course this
reflects one of the most interesting and passionate fan bases in the country, and one for which we should be proud, and that any conference would be blessed to claim. We take seriously not taking ourselves too seriously, which is a criminally under-utilized and under-appreciated quality. At Texas Tech our fans are creative and fearless and fearlessly creative and eat beer for breakfast. I want to be associated with them, and you should too.
I am also damn proud that Texas Tech fans exhibit much less pretentiousness and inflated sense of self worth than do SOME OF our rivals in Austin or College Station, who often forget that moral worth and consideration are human rights earned by virtue of existence and not through SAT scores. As Tech improves academically I hope we never lose this humility, and remember that it is more just to help that poor struggling bastard next to you reach the top than it is to jealously guard what good circumstances has gifted you.
Also our co-eds are like super hot:
In conclusion, Texas and Texas A&M are not going to help us get where we want or need to be, and our place in the academic pecking order, or the College Football Universe, is our problem and our problem alone. We need to take ownership of it and recognize that there's room for improvement. Fortunate and gainfully employed Texas Tech supporters owe it to the school, and humanity, to support public education. Donating to Texas Tech is a good place to start, get it done.
P.S.: No quarter, never forget: