Amid Mack Brown Retirement Rumors, UT President Bill Powers Job Uncertain

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If you are anything like me you are miserably failing at avoiding all the rumors of Mack Brown stepping down as the head coach of UT football by the end of this week.

Yet strangely enough, Brown's departure from the University of Texas might not be the only one announced from the 40 acres this week.

UT Austin President Bill Powers's job is apparently on the agenda this week at the University of Texas System Board of Regents meeting. They are set to meet in executive session beginning Thursday morning.

Click below the jump to see what else is on the Board of Regents agenda and what's next for the University of Texas.What the outcome of this meeting will be on Thursday is anybody's guess. But one thing is true – if Powers is gone Mack Brown is too. Mack Brown and President Powers have been powerful allies and the Regents seeming to oust a President while also trying to do his job, have been doltishly trying to replace Brown this whole season, despite having no direct control over hiring practices (The UT System Board of Regents approves expenditures over a certain amount).

Sports Illustrated, in light of reflecting on who could possibly replace Mack Brown if he was to retire early, actually summed up best the level of unprofessionalism that Rick Perry along with his Regents have displayed, and the dire effects it can have on UT Austin.

“But the smarter questions that reared themselves again on Tuesday were about the bizarre leadership issues that could impede Texas making a hire.

Texas officials stressed on Tuesday that no decision would be made until after a Regents meeting Thursday. An agenda item in that meeting is the future of President Bill Powers. At most universities, it would make sense to know whether or not the president would survive before going about the business of parting ways with a football coach.

But this is Texas, and the political football in Austin has outpaced the play on the field all year. The working conditions that Powers is operating under comes out of Molly Ivins' wildest nightmares. The short story is that Powers has clashed with Gov. Rick Perry, who is a Texas A&M graduate. Perry is a former Aggies Yell leader and noted fanboy.

Perry has loaded Texas' board of regents with his cronies, many of whom graduated from other schools and appear more worried about appeasing Perry than what's best for the future of Texas. Perry's goal has been to stack the board enough to oust Powers. Will Thursday be the day that it finally happens?

And that raises the question of whether a control-freak coach like Nick Saban would go to Austin amid so much instability. Can Texas lure an elite coach with its university hierarchy plotting against each other like rival message board posters?”

Now replace “Nick Saban” with any other professional in any other field, sports or academia, and you can see why Rick Perry and his Regents are poison to the University of Texas at Austin.

As Joe Jamail noted in this must read article from Texas Monthly, “Perry wants to make a trade school out of UT… He got some regents to go along with that to kiss his ass, but Powers resisted it. And he resisted Perry's plan to decrease tuition. Perry didn't like any of it. One thing Perry's got to understand is, we impeached one goddam governor for fooling with the University of Texas.”

Mr. Jamail is of course referring to James E. Ferguson, who was impeached by the House of Representatives after vetoing practically the entire appropriation for the University of Texas.  

There are nine members on the Board of Regents, currently there are only four votes to remove Powers (Hall, Cranberg, Pejovich and Powell). If the UT Board of Regents does so, it will ultimately be up to UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa to decide the fate of Powers.

For a detailed, War of the Roses type history, please check out this amazing timeline from the Texas Tribune, marking the storied tension between the Board of Regents, the Governor, the Texas State Legislature, and President Powers.  


About Author

Chaille Jolink

Chaille Jolink was born and raised in Austin, Texas and has more than a decade of experience working in Texas politics. Her interest began when she was a Senate Messenger in 2003, and she's since worked for several different legislators and candidates. She started reporting in 2007 for, and has been a contributor to several different publications. Chaille is a graduate of the University of Texas and enjoys fashion, baseball, and playing any team sport. Chaille tweets @ChailleMcCann.

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