Attempting to capitalize on the recent rumblings in Texas sports about the realignment of the Big 12 Conference, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White has revealed either a contempt for the state’s boards of regents, a complete misunderstanding of their job, or his desire to centralize even more power into the Office of the Governor. Apparently he believes the governor alone would decide all aspects of university life.

Writing in the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Harvard grad (and UT Law educated trial lawyer) made a paltry attempt to take Republican Gov. Rick Perry to task for not being more involved in the Big 12 Conference discussions.

He suggested the men and women serving on the state’s university boards of regents are unfit, if not incompetent, to properly decide what’s best for their universities and students.

It would appear Mr. White’s goal is to turn the governor’s office into some sort of Regent-in-Chief.

Mr. White doesn’t seem to understand the intended structure of government in the Lone Star State. It looks like he would have Texans believe the Office of the Governor is the final arbiter in all decisions involving university systems and their campuses.

Texas has a proud history diffusing power at the state level, and purposefully establishing checks and balances that delegate that power. To that end, the governor appoints, and the Texas Senate confirms, individuals as university regents. Once in office, they are independent to perform their duties as they see fit (sometimes to the chagrin of the governor who appointed them).

Apparently Mr. White would have the governor’s office deeply involved in all decisions related to collegiate athletic programs.

Furthermore, the top two goals Mr. White said should drive those decisions, at least when it comes to NCAA alignments, are “maximize[d] athletic revenue” and the “fair allocation of contract revenues” amongst the programs. Sounds nice, but like most of his campaign rhetoric, it misses the mark.

Such financial considerations are certainly important, but it’s interesting that nowhere in the article does he discuss the impact sporting alignments can have on the student-athletes, and the potential academic hurdles they might face as a result of changes.

By most accounts, Texans don’t want their government micromanaged from the top-down. By weighing in on this issue as he did, Mr. White has further exposed himself as a big government liberal who would attempt to concentrate and centralize more power into the Office of the Governor.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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