Texas A&M University is all about tradition. But Texas A&M University is also the sort of place that has incredible respect for rules, and the Southeastern Conference has one that is not so good for the school’s students.
As Vimal Patel of the Bryan-College Station Eagle reported, the SEC has a ban on seating students in rows one through 25 between the thirty yard lines behind the opposing team’s bench. Wrote Patel:
The longstanding rule, meant to protect the safety of the visiting players . . . would impact 1,400 seats, including all of the 374-student Aggie Band. Some 30,000 tickets are set aside for students in the 82,600-capacity Kyle Field.
The issue was actually taken up last week by A&M’s student senate, as Chandler Smith of the Battalion first reported:
The bill maintains that “any reduction of student section seating as a result of compliance with the Southeastern Conference’s seating regulations is detrimental to the ‘traditions and pageantry the 12th Man brings to Kyle Field.'”
But A&M spokesman Jason Cook said that cutting back on student seating was not likely to happen. Cook also told Patel that A&M cannot officially appeal the SEC’s rule until it’s actually a member of the SEC, which doesn’t happen until July 1. Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin was set to meet with student leaders on the issue today.
A&M student body president Jeff Pickering said the Twelfth Man should be given special consideration, particularly the Aggie Band, which, as a unit in Corps of Cadets, knows how to behave itself. “We can control a military outfit,” Pickering told Patel.
Aggie Band drum major Bill Jessup, who was also one of the student senate bill sponsors, told the Battalion’s Smith, “I think that the Twelfth Man isn’t the Twelfth Man because of where they’re standing. I think the Twelfth Man is the Twelfth Man because of what they’re standing for.”
Jessup also said, “we’ll submit to authority because that’s our job as Aggies, but until then, we’d like to see the university fight this.”
Needless to say, UT fans, already giddy over winning the final Big 12 football and regular season men’s basketball match-ups, are enjoying the schadenfreude of this story, which they probably first heard about via a segment on the Longhorn Network, with several trolling in the Eagle‘s comments section.