The Univ. of Texas athletics department waved a big rainbow flag last weekend, marching in the Austin Pride Parade. Using the fitting tagline “Hooked On Diversity And Inclusion,” a total of 12 student-athletes and 13 staffers reportedly joined Texas Cheer and Pom members, including the school’s costumed mascot, Hook ‘Em.

One of those staffers was Drew Martin, the associate athletics director who was recently hired away from TCU by the school. Martin has been proud to see what he calls a robust diversity program that the school very publicly has embraced.

I was excited when I learned that UT Athletics has such a robust diversity and inclusion program that includes not only student-athletes but coaches and support staff,” Martin told Outsports.

”The fact we have programs that include diversity and inclusion in athletics is not necessarily a new concept,” Martin said. “Being as visible as to not only march in parades like Juneteenth and Pride, but promote our participation publicly through our owned communications channels, is something that I think is extremely important. Visibility and living what we say is a core value critical for those who are struggling to find their place, find their fit. We are letting current and future student-athletes, coaches and support staff know ‘You’re welcome here. We support you.’”

The school published a story about Austin Pride on the Texas athletics Web site, created a video on YouTube, and shared it on Twitter, using the popular Longhorns hashtag #HookEm.

The Univ. of Texas athletics department has done a lot of good things since a change of management took place. This is all a welcome sign from the marquee college sports program in a state with a reputation of being overtly and traditionally Christian and challenging for LGBTQ people.

We’ll be looking for more big LGBTQ-inclusion statements from this Texas athletics department.