Along with UCF, Cincinnati, and BYU, the University of Houston will apply for membership in the Big 12 this week, possibly as soon as Monday. The conference will then invite the four teams to join, at which time UH’s Board of Regents will call a meeting to approve the historic conference change.

The University’s 75-year athletics journey has been a series of starts and stops; highs shaped by on-the-field success and lows owed largely to fan apathy and feckless leadership. UH has seen it all: from a fledgling athletics program in minor conferences to independence, then finally ascending to the Southwest Conference only to be shunned for a quarter-century in C-USA and the American, and now on the precipice of joining the Big Twelve.

The University and its fans had cause to believe they’d join the Big 12 in 1994 and again in 2016, only to see the dream die due to political gamesmanship. Now on the verge of that coveted invitation, I can’t help but think of UH’s school motto, In Time.

In Time traces its roots back nearly 1,000 years to a man named Hugh of Padavan. Hugh served under William The Conqueror in the invasion of England in 1066. For his service, Hugh was given land along the border with Scotland and eventually built a stronghold he named Hughstown.

Several years later, Hugh rescued the Scottish King, Malcolm III, during one of the King’s raids into the English countryside. Malcolm praised Hugh’s bravery, noting that his savior arrived “In Tempore” or just in time.

Malcolm granted Hugh Scottish Knighthood, more fertile land, and a new coat of arms. The new shield featured greyhounds, honoring the speed with which Sir Hugh saved Malcolm, along with an hourglass and the words “In Time.”

After Sir Hugh began to focus on his new land, Hughstown eventually morphed into Houstoun. Centuries later, descendants of Houstoun arrived in colonial Virginia and Americanized their name into Houston. They continued to use Sir Hugh’s coat-of-arms and it became famous thanks to their son, Sam Houston.

Over 110 years after his death, it was Sam Houston’s family shield that the University of Houston adopted in 1938 and debuted in the Roy G. Cullen Building in 1939.

Roy G Cullen Building 1939
Roy G Cullen Building 1939 / The Houstonian

 
In Time became the school’s motto, meaning something quite different from it’s origins. Malcolm III used the phrase to honor the past but for the last 80+ years, In Time has signified the aspirations of the University of Houston.

On the verge of joining the Big 12 Conference, In Time has morphed once again. Its meaning is no longer forward-thinking. The future is now. Today. It’s Time.

It’s Time for UH to step onto the center stage.

It’s Time to re-establish Southwest Conference rivalries after 25 years in the wilderness.

It’s Time to begin new lines of collaboration in research and scientific study.

It’s Time to be acknowledged as peers, as equals, to Texas Tech, TCU, and Baylor.

It’s Time for the country to be reintroduced to the University of Houston.

It’s Time to hang Big 12 championship banners.

It’s Time for our hearts to fill with (even more) gladness when we think of thee.

It’s Time for the University of Houston.

It’s Time.


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