I disagree that we have been treading water. Prior to the dropping of football, UTA was the worst overall program in the SLC. We had far more last place finishes in all-sports than firsts. Women's sports didn't compete until the 82-83, and our softball team and volleyball squads were nationally competitive. We all know the volleyball team was right up there with UT-Austin and the softball team made a College World Series appearance in the '70's. Otherwise, we were terrible.
Since football was dropped, we spread the resources around and began winning conference championships in a lot of sports. However, the big one in basketball was dropped. I think a better strategy by Nedderman would have been (assuming dropping football was never going to change) to lobby hard for a multi-purpose arena ASAP. Make it priority one. While it would have benefited the athletic department, it also has a huge upside for the whole U, as we have seen with CPC. I wonder how many people who graduated at Texas Hall assumed we were a bush league school. And of those, how many would support UTA more had their ceremony been in a legit venue. There will never be a right answer.
But also consider that UTA was one of the first schools to institute a student athletic fee to support our athletic teams. President Witt and AD Carlon spearheaded that. While I think Witt could have played a more active role, he didn't completely ignore it. Under his tenure were the only Commish Cups that UTA won.
Of course, I don't need to say what Spaniolo did. He was at a lot of events. The current President has been to almost all of them too.
But in the end, UTA's overall performance began to rise and they became a force in ther '90's. They weren't a pushover in the aughts, but we weren't performing at a consistently high rate as we had. Of course, some of that had to do with how they changed the scoring of the Cup, but that is another story.
If you measure by performance, we are better than we were, by a long margin. If you only count sports offered, the have dropped three - football, swimming and rifle - and added one, tennis.
Of course, there will always be people who think UTA isn't legit as long as we don't offer football. in the meantime, I will keep a tally of how often we beat them in the sports we play (looking at you, Louisiana-Lafayette, 4-0 this year).