Often times, for the same reason a dog licks his balls: because it can.
The accommodations before the Longhorns’ home opener were fit for a high-rolling Texas ex.
A custom buffet for $79. And if the all-you-can-eat spread wasn’t enough, there was a $20 snack later that night. Around midnight, when the hunger pangs struck again, the hotel came through with a $24 “late snack.”
The next morning, for $36, the eggs came every way. That was followed by a pregame lunch for $29.
But these weren’t fans at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark the night before Texas opened its season against North Texas. It was the 120 or so Texas football players.
The total bill for a stay a little more than 51/2 miles from Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium: $39,000.
Sure, Texas has the resources to spend like a drunken sailor on weekend shore leave, but if you read the article in its entirety, you’ll note that even North Texas (“The university spent $17 million to subsidize its athletic department in 2013”) spent over a hundred grand on hotel stays before home games this season.
Of course, they’ll tell you it’s for noble reasons…
“It’s all about mental preparation and the ability to sleep and rest and concentrate on the things they need to concentrate on and you know where they are,” Teaff said. “You can’t allow guys who are going to play a hard football game the next day to be in a dormitory where on Friday nights they never go to bed.”
Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum said the move to hotels for home games started when schools began eliminating athlete-only dorms. As an assistant coach at Kansas State in the early 1970s, Slocum said it became necessary because Manhattan became a zoo on game weekends.
“If you don’t have them sequestered somewhere their friends are coming over and one thing that’s as bad as any is their relatives,” Slocum said. “They come to town with a couple carloads of relatives, and they come over and the poor kid can’t kick his family out of his dorm room or his apartment.”
… but it’s really just about what you’d expect.
“That’s really what the motivation behind it is,” North Texas coach Dan McCarney said. “I really look forward to it, the players do, too. My assistants get my players up on Saturday morning, open the curtains, rise and shine, get your butt out of bed, and let’s go, let’s roll. It’s part of the tradition now and we’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Keep the coach comfortable. It’s a lot cheaper than paying the players, anyway.