It’s been an interesting experience working for the University of Texas System over the past two decades.
As the Texas economy and population have boomed, UT Austin has remained stubbornly committed to a student population of roughly 50,000. All of that demand for higher education has to go somewhere else. And it has! To other institutions within the UT System.
Can you imagine a future where UT Austin & UT San Antonio are D1 rivals? I can. Can you foresee a UT Arlington competing with TCU or SMU? You should. Where once there was a flagship in Austin, increasingly there is a UT System of parity.
There are 8 academic institutions within the UT System, and most of them have seen dramatic enrollment increases since 2000. UT Arlington? 42,000 students. UT San Antonio just hit 30k. UT Rio Grande Valley has nearly 28,000, while UT El Paso sits at 25,000. All five of these schools compete in D1. UT Tyler and UT Permian Basin, with 18,000 between them, just moved up to D2.
There’s only one UT academic institution that competes in D3: UT Dallas. And really, it has no business being there. UTD has 28,000 undergrads, making it the second biggest D3 school in the country. 28,000! Can you imagine a UT Dallas competing with UT Austin? I certainly can.
The days of UTD’s D3 affiliation are numbered. Administration is considering an application for D2 membership as we speak, and D1 may not be far behind. It may not surprise you that UTD, given its size, is a D3 juggernaut.
UTD regularly competes for D3 championships in baseball; my UT System colleagues Kevin Craig and Barbara Craig have a son on the Comets baseball team. They are also exceptional in other sports. Women’s basketball is certainly one.
The 2017-18 Comets went 24-5, captured the ASC conference title, and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA D3 tournament. The 2016-17 Comets were also conference champions at 25-4, and made the NCAA tournament. This year’s team in Dallas was 3-0 and ranked #14 in D3 on Thanksgiving Day.
But that was before today, when they had to travel to Sherman.
The AC Women’s asketball team beat the #14 in the nation UT-Dallas Comets 60-57 at Hughey on Saturday. This is the same UTD team that dispatched SCAC champion Trinity in the NCAA tournament and will probably be competing with the likes of UT Austin WBB at the Frank Erwin Center in the not too distant future. But today, it’s different. AC (enrollment 1200) beats UTD (enrollment 28,000). Who else is thinking Hoosiers?
Before a school moves on to loftier heights, it must cut its teeth against the Roos. So it was for Texas A&M in 1896, so it is for UT-Dallas in 2018. UTD: Good luck in the future as you make your way up the NCAA ladder, now that you have graduated from Roo University.
Hey, I’m a fan. ACWBB is GOOD. My daughter and I will be in San Antonio for the Trinity game; in the meantime, I plan on having Ms. M. practice her free throws like Jimmy Chitwood.