To any and all living graduates of Southwest Texas State University, Southwest Texas State College, Southwest Texas State Teachers College, Southwest Texas State Normal College, and Southwest Texas State Normal School:
(God, that was a mouthful. Okay, let's stick with SWT and be done with it.)
Howdy. You may or may not have stumbled upon this request for your assistance because you happened to read my mountain of words addressing the current state of the Texas State athletic department and how it needs to adjust faster to FBS, or perhaps you just ended up here by chance. Either way, I'm glad you're here.
If you're an SWT partisan, there's a decent chance you haven't been back to the university or to a Bobcat football game in a very long time (if ever), and the pesky matter of the name change from your beloved Southwest Texas over to Texas State stuck in your craw and you haven't been back since.
(If you have been back and have been coming to games, this letter isn't addressed to you. You're fantastic, and keep doing what you're doing).
You might have observed the culture divide between SWT and Texas State grads, or more commonly, you didn't observe it because you gave up on the school a long time ago.
Maybe you're one of the 'Cats who was around for the halcyon days of the SWT brand when Jim Wacker was tearing up the Lone Star Conference with Ricky Sanders and other Bobcat legends. Perhaps the Texas State brand just didn't seem right to you.
Maybe you're disgruntled by Texas State's growth-at-all-costs philosophy and you now see a school you don't recognize anymore. Maybe you're also angered by the university's tendency to nuke much of SWT's history in favor of the new name. And maybe you think this athletic department is too behind the curve or arrogant to earn your support. Perhaps you think SWT/Texas State got too big for its britches and tried to become something that, in your mind, it's not.
Maybe you've even used the name change as an excuse to shed your maroon and gold t-shirt for some burnt orange or for the wrong kind of maroon.
Maybe you just haven't kept up because you thought SWT was a joke and will always remain a joke.
Many of your gripes are legitimate, and some of us are doing what we can to force the school to address them. And sure, some of y'all are just lazy bandwagoners.
But whatever your story is, we need you.
All of you. Urgently. Even you, Mr. I Wore Burnt Orange On The Quad 300-something Days a Year.
In case you haven't paid attention, we need both SWT and Texas State graduates to get involved for a number of very important reasons. First of all, we need people to show up to your alma mater's FBS football games. We've had plenty of fans show out for opponents like Navy and Texas Tech, but it's when we're playing solid programs with lesser known names like Georgia Southern and Arkansas State that we need your support.
We need you not only for home field advantage, but also so we can start making ourselves attractive to bowl committees and, more importantly, better conferences. That's right, Mr. I Haven't Stepped on Campus Since 1997, your alma mater could go to a bowl game or end up in the same conference with teams like Rice or SMU if enough of us show up to home games. So far, not enough of us have, and relying on the base of Texas State-only grads from 2004 to present will always keep our attendance at a low ceiling.
What's even more important though is that we need you to get involved and help us force the Texas State athletic department to step up, raise expectations, evolve with the times, and become the big boy FBS program that we've dreamed about. Maybe you have qualms with the idea of SWT/Texas State becoming big time, because you never envisioned your quaint little party school being that way. Perhaps you don't want the school posing a long term threat to your precious Longhorns or Aggies, as unlikely as that may seem at the moment.
But here are the hard facts: Texas State is your alma mater. It's coming into its own as an FBS school after years of obscurity. And it needs you.
You know who doesn't need or even want you? The University of Texas or Texas A&M. They have more than enough fans buying their merchandise and their tickets as it is. In fact, their alumni look down on you and view you as a front-running joke. Just stroll on over to a UT or A&M message board someday and see what they really think of you. It's not complimentary, to put it lightly.
Instead of hanging out with people who talk shit behind your back, come be with the people who really accept you and want you around. Be a part of building something big from the ground up. Nobody will blame you if you slip off to a UT or A&M game during a Texas State road game or a bye week. But we need you around for home games. Wins and recruiting class rankings are going up, and we need all of the upward momentum we can get.
So come home. We'll gladly offer you a beer and a spot at our tailgate, no questions asked. Some of us will also want to ask you about your time at SWT because we find that stuff interesting and are also annoyed at Texas State burying its history.
And who knows? Someday, maybe you'll get swept up in all the excitement and want to get rid of all your gear from that other school that isn't your alma mater. Whether that means a trip to Goodwill or starting up a bonfire, we'll gladly help with that too.