Jun 12, 2020 - Sports

University of Texas athletes issue demands on race issues

UT Autsin football players.
The Texas Longhorns football team. Photo: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Some student-athletes at the University of Texas at Austin said they will no longer help recruit new players or attend donor events unless the school addresses a list of demands to make the environment "more comfortable and more inclusive for the black athletes and the black community," according to various athletes' social media posts.

Why it matters: Protests in the wake of the George Floyd killing have sparked a nationwide discussion on racism, and college athletes are speaking out on social issues and driving the conversation in ways their predecessors could only dream about, writes Axios' Jeff Tracy.

Details: On the laundry list of demands, the group is asking the university to rename several campus buildings which were designated for people believed to have connections to racism.

  • The group also called for some statues to be removed and replaced with "more diverse statues on campus designed by artists/sculptors who are people of color.”
  • They demand that incoming freshmen be taught about the history of racism on campus.
  • They have requested that a black athletic history exhibit on campus, and that the athletic department give 0.5% of its yearly earnings to black organizations and the Black Lives Matter movement.

What they're saying: “The recent events across the country regarding racial injustice have brought to light the systemic racism that has always been prevalent in our country as well as the racism that has historically plagued our campus,” the letter states.

  • “We, as student athletes, and collectively as the University of Texas Longhorn football team, are aware that we are an athletic department made up of many black athletes, and believe that it is time we become active on our campus.”

What's next: The athletes have asked that their demands be addressed "through the implementation or a plan for implementation at the start of the fall semester,” slated to begin August 26.

Go deeper