TIAA 1909

Pat Abernathey likes to give me a hard time. I always refer to AC’s conference as the TIAA. It’s not anymore, it’s the ASC (Whoops! SCAC). And he always corrects me while rolling his eyes. But I’m starting to think there’s good reason to keep annoying him.

At the turn of the century, collegiate athletics was an unorganized free-for-all associated with less than savory elements. And college administrators finally decided to do something about it.

In 1909, the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (TIAA) was created to organize and administer collegiate athletics at Texas colleges. It was the first athletic conference in Texas, and the oldest west of the Mississippi. Older than the SWC, older than the SEC, older than the Pac-8.

The founding members were the Texas heavyweights:

University of Texas
Texas A&M
Austin College

1909, my friends, is the start of a short period of AC glory years that lasted until roughly 1914. During this 5 year period, AC was elite playing against Texas elite competition. There’s a lot of good stuff during these 5 years which I’ll come back to.

And during this 5 year period, one year in particular stands out. 1913. The 1913 AC Kangaroo football team was a feared bunch. They dominated the TIAA small schools, and were competitive against the TIAA large schools. They beat Baylor. The lost a nail biter to A&M at Kyle Field. And they garnered a lot of press by scoring against Arkansas and ending a long string of Razorback shutouts.

The 1913 Kangaroos were featured in the October 26, 1913 Houston Post. See photo.
Other news of the day? Emmeline Pankhurst (to be played later by Meryl Streep) was demanding equity for women on juries.

By 1914, the strains of the TIAA had become too much. The larger schools were increasingly reluctant to travel to the smaller schools, and had disputes over eligibility. The Southwest Conference was established that year for UT, A&M, and others. The TIAA continued for a while, before splitting itself into two conferences, one for medium size schools (Lone Star) and another small, religiously affiliated schools (Texas).

But the TIAA was present at the creation, and was back once again when I was in Sherman. Surely, Pat Abernathey, it will come around again. 🙂