Former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy joined an alumni campaign to keep "The Eyes of Texas" as the university's alma mater song, according to the Texas Tribune.
A fierce debate regarding the school song began in June 2020 when a group of Texas athletes called on Texas to rename several campus buildings and change the school song. "The Eyes of Texas" has been criticized for its use in minstrel shows featuring characters in blackface dating back to the early 1900s.
The athletes' request was met with severe pushback from alumni and donors. The Texas Tribune released numerous alumni emails regarding the song in March, with multiple emails criticizing the school's Black athletes for their stance regarding "The Eyes of Texas."
"It's time for you to put the foot down and make it perfectly clear that the heritage of Texas will not be lost," a donor who graduated in 1986 wrote, according to the Tribune. "It is sad that it is offending the blacks. As I said before the blacks are free and it's time for them to move on to another state where everything is in their favor."
An additional 550 emails were published by the Tribune on Thursday. In addition to McCoy, multiple multi-millionaire donors also noted their wish to keep the school song.
McCoy was on a group email with Longhorn donors and fans to discuss the controversy in June 2020, per the Tribune. Former Texas wide receiver and McCoy teammate Jordan Shipley was on the group email as well. McCoy reportedly also participated in a conference call set up by oil tycoon and donor Bud Brigham, in which Brigham called for "some reasoned and courageous former black athletes to step up" to save the song.
Texas officials released a report on March 9 regarding the origins of "The Eyes of Texas." The university-issued report said that while the song was written in a racist environment, it has “no racist intent,” a claim disputed by Texas history professor Alberto Martínez.