Friday, September 7, 2012

Greed Is Good

“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.”

- Michael Douglas, as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)

During lunch, as I was perusing twitter and generally attempting to block out work-talk, I stumbled across this gem from Rant Sports, which uncovered Texas A&M’s clandestine attempt at claiming a few more national and conference championships in football. Bottom line, the claims on the national championships are one thing, as many schools claim titles in years when multiple teams went undefeated (but the BCS figured that all out, right?). However, the claims on the Big 12 titles from 1997 and 2010 are downright bogus. If you’re trying to remember those conference championship games, stop while you're ahead. The Aggies got killed in the Big 12 Championship in ’97, and didn’t even get to the title game in ’10.

The bogus conference titles are disgraceful, but this is just another example of the University’s attitude in recent years.

I can’t quite put my thumb on when or where it started, but is anyone getting the sense that Texas A&M has become excessively greedy?

I believe the root of the administration’s behavior recently is somehow related to the inferiority complex Texas A&M has displayed for years when compared to the University of Texas. Look, nobody likes being treated like a little brother, but the fact of the matter is the University of Texas has enjoyed considerable athletic success over the past decade, which has led to certain profitable commercial ventures.

When UT trotted out an agreement with ESPN to develop its own TV network, I stood 100% by Texas A&M’s outrage at being treated unfairly. I wholeheartedly supported moving to the SEC based on the Aggies’ being snubbed like that.

But now that there really isn’t any pressure to directly “compete” with UT on any level other than recruiting, what motivation has been behind the decisions made by the administration lately?

A calm head coach, who had actually built up a pretty solid program, but wasn’t “sexy”? He got fired.

An athletic director, who had followed through on his “Building Champions” campaign in nearly every sport other than football? He was forced out.

A national championship and 17 conference championships? So embarrassing that we felt the need to sneak in a few more by our own volition.

A hallowed stadium, revered by the fan base for decades as being one of the “pure” venues to watch a college football game, fresh off additions like a monster video screen with complimentary ribbon boards? On itsway to being renovated, chock full of luxury suites and seats too expensive for many of the fans who form the backbone of the 12th Man to afford.

A high school football game featuring a few recruits the Aggies are interested in, two nights before arguably the biggest game in the last 15 years? Attended by our head coach, who subtly arrived in a helicopter.

A lucrative agreement with Coca-Cola, the beverage choice of (roughly) 100% of the South? Abandoned, for a greater “opportunity” with Pepsi.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Somehow, Texas A&M University, like the wife who puts on 20 pounds but you don’t really notice because you love her so much and see her as the girl she was when you first met, is no longer the humble, lovable school we all adore. The school has become an egotistical, entitled, money-printing machine.

And none of us noticed, because we all wanted to join the SEC, and then get all the toys that come with being in the SEC.

We have to have a bigger stadium. We need to make a splash in recruiting. We must get a more exciting coach.

I don’t necessarily disagree with these decisions – some of them were moves that needed to be made. But the red flags keep piling up, and the administration is going to use the “SEC” excuse as long as we let them. Texas A&M has fundamentally changed under the leadership of R. Bowen Loftin. Whether it’s him making the calls or not, the bottom line is the University is becoming greedier by the day.

I’m fine with that, but it better result in the football team actually winning conference and national championships.

1 comment:

  1. Texas A&M hasn't fundamentally changed. Just when viewed through a Sports prism. Thankfully, it's so much more than that.