Schedule conflict forces fans to decide between ACL and OU game

Alexa Ura

Last minute changes to the fall Big 12 football schedule led to a conflict between the Austin City Limits Music Festival and Texas-OU weekend, leaving students to decide which major event to attend.

Festival officials first chose the date last year intending to avoid the weekend of the big game, said ACL spokesperson Sandee Fenton, but a restructuring of the Big 12 Conference has led to reshuffling of the season schedule.

“When ACL 2012 was scheduled and confirmed, there were no conflicts during the weekend of Oct. 12-14, but the Big 12 Conference shuffled their schedule last week,” Fenton said.

The overlap will force students to choose between two major UT student attractions.

Radio-television-film sophomore Brianna Dean said she is a football fan, but is choosing to volunteer at ACL over attending the OU game in October.

“I’ve attended ACL almost every year since I was a kid,” she said. “I really love football, but I live music.”

Carly Ward, communications director for the Texas Exes Student Chapter, said Texas fans are dedicated fans, so she doesn’t think there will be a noticeable decline in attendance at the OU game.

“Although it seems like a controversial choice now, I don’t think ACL will stop too many students from going to the game,” she said. “Die hard ACL fans probably won’t go to Dallas, but they may have never had plans to go in the first place.”

The dates of the festival fluctuate between September and October because ACL executives at C3 Presents pick a date based on University and city schedules in order to avoid conflicting dates, Fenton said.

Last year’s festival was held mid-September, but this year’s festival was pushed back almost a month into October.

UT Athletics released the 2012 UT football season schedule Tuesday, listing the 107th meeting of Texas and Oklahoma set for Oct. 13, right in the middle of ACL weekend.

The football schedule was released the same day West Virginia University announced plans to join the Big 12 football conference for the 2012 season. West Virginia was in the middle of a lawsuit settlement that released them from the Big East Conference without the required 27-month release waiting period.

“The Big 12 was scrambling to get West Virginia into the league for this fall,” said Mike Huguenin, college sports editor for Yahoo Sports.

Last minute-entry West Virginia would make the Big 12 a 10-team conference and allow for a round robin schedule without the necessity for non-conference games at the beginning of the season, he said.

Bob Burda, associate commissioner for the Big 12, said the release of the conference schedule was delayed because of TCU and West Virginia’s inclusion.

“We had to wait for the legal process of West Virginia with the Big East to play out before we were in a position to announce the schedule,” he said.

Burda said the date Texas was scheduled to play OU resulted from Texas A&M’s departure and the addition of two new members to the conference.

Available game windows for other schools have to be taken into consideration when creating Texas’ usual schedule of four games at home, four on the road and one at a neutral site, he said.

Regular scheduling logistics include receiving nine conference game windows from schools in the conference and addressing university ties to homecoming events, neutral sites or other commitments when creating the schedule, Burda said. A computer program generates a tentative schedule that Big 12 executives then evaluate, modify and present to athletic directors.

“We know that the Oklahoma game will coincide with ACL,” Burda said. “We tried to accommodate all special occasions including the festival and The Austin Grand Prix Race this year, but we are not always able to accommodate everyone.”

Print on Friday, February 17, 2012 as: Rivalry date leads to clash with music fest