Alpine to A&M: Don’t Drone On Me

Nov 25, 2013 By Rachel Monroe

After a packed public hearing last week, Alpine's City Council unanimously voted to reject A&M's proposal to launch drones from Alpine's municipal airport. Alpine's triumph, however, is more symbolic than anything else. Unmanned aircraft will still fly over the Big Bend region.

Tuesday Night Lights

Feb 27, 2013 By Texas Monthly and Brian D. Sweany

In the House of Representatives traditional flag football game, sports and politics collided on the grass of Kyle Field. Fortunately, the only things that got bruised were a few egos.

UT and A&M Resume Hostilities This Weekend

Jan 21, 2013 By Jason Cohen

If you thought the rivalry between the University of Texas and Texas A&M was currently on ice, you are correct. Tonight in College Station, the two schools face off in, you guessed it, hockey. 

Mark his words: Cuban on the Big XII

Sep 8, 2011 By Paul Burka

Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban has a very smart blog on what the Big Twelve should do if A&M leaves. It was published several days ago and has been picked up by other sports blogs. * * * * Here is some unsolicited advice to the Big 12. As you might expect coming from me, it’s going to be contrary to what everyone else thinks they should do. With Texas A&M trying to leave the Big 12 (It doesn’t happen until the SEC accepts them) every remaining school is trying to decide in the immortal lyrics of The Clash “Should I Stay or Should I Go”.  The quick answer ? They should stay. Why ? The first reason is that the Super Conferences that are forming or being considered will turn into a huge mistake. No if ands or buts about it. While the concept of a Super Conference sounds incredibly cool , the reality is that the larger than 12 school conferences will only invoke the law of intended consequences and will create the following problems: 1. More schools will NOT mean more TV money. The big college TV networks, Fox, ESPN, CBS pay for quality, not quantity.  They need marquee matchups that are “Must Tweet TV”.  The number of schools in a conference actually reduce the parity and quality of match-ups in a conference. The networks will not pay up for that.  Adding Texas A&M to the SEC is not going to add a single dollar’s worth of value to the owner of the SEC TV contract , regardless of sport.  Maybe the SEC has an escalator in their contract that increases the total value of the TV contract, but I’m guessing that it still will result in a reduction in the dollars paid to each school when compared to the amount paid had an additional school not joined the conference. 2. Fans will hate the scheduling impact You know how there is midnight madness in college basketball ? And late night and games scheduled at weird times for basketball ? Get ready for morning madness in college football as well.  I’m guessing that the only way to get all those games through a single TV network partner is to start very, very early or to go very very late. OR to move games to online broadcasts.  Which is exactly why the big networks are very supportive of the Super Conferences. They know they will be able to force matchups OFF of tv and on to internet based broadcasts. You can pass your own judgement if that’s good or bad. 3. Say Goodbye to Cupcake Football Games As a big college football fan I see this as a positive. But if you talk to any coach with BCS aspirations, they will tell you that this is a huge negative. Sure Utah State can take Auburn to the wire every now and then, but the reality is most BCS title aspiration (not all) schools have 3 or 4 cupcake games on their schedule. With every school added to a conference they are going to have to remove a cupcake to make room on their schedule. Coaches are going to HATE this. Of course the smaller schools are going to lose their pay day as well.

Baylor: “will assert legal remedies if necessary”

Sep 7, 2011 By Paul Burka

(This post is a revision that includes corrections from a previous draft.) Regarding the situation with Texas A&M and the future of the Big Twelve Conference, I have spoken with persons familiar with the situation at Baylor, who prefer to remain anonymous. This is what I have learned. 1. The university started four weeks ago to determine its legal remedies if A&M decided to leave the Big Twelve for the SEC. Astonishingly, the Big XII had waived all of its rights in a letter to the SEC, although Baylor's position, which seems correct to me, is that the Big Twelve cannot bind its member institutions. 2. If it is necessary to resort to litigation, one theory would be tortious interference with contract. 3.  The Baylor board has taken the position, "We're not going to waive our remedies." 4. Baylor is talking to all member institutions of the Big Twelve. UT and Oklahoma say they want to continue in the conference. At least two other conference schools have said they will not waive their rights. 5. Not surprisingly, politicians have gotten involved, including (reportedly) a number of legislators and a few statewide officials, including David Dewhurst,  who would like to leverage the controversy to get the University of Houston in the Big Twelve.

A&M’s plans — and UT’s

Aug 31, 2011 By Paul Burka

I spoke with a friend yesterday who is knowledgeable about the situation at Texas A&M, and here is what he had to say. 1. Perry was not involved in the A&M regents’ decision to leave the Big Twelve for the SEC. He was described to me as “not supportive” but…

Perry’s transcript

Aug 5, 2011 By Paul Burka

I am not going to comment on it. Rick Perry is a different person today than he was at A&M. I’m a different person than I was at Rice. And neither of our transcripts was anything to write home about. End of discussion.

Aggie Hispanic group urges university to live up to its goals; seeks Hispanic commandant for Corps of Cadets

May 12, 2010 By Paul Burka

The Texas A&M Hispanic network sent the following letter, dated May 10, to Texas A&M University president Bowen Loftin and other university administrators. It expresses the group's concern that A&M is not making sufficient progress towards the goals set forth in the University's twenty-year planning document, Vision 2020, at the halfway point. In addition, the group addresses issues concerning the leadership of the Corps of Cadets. Here are some excerpts from the letter. * [T]he Network remains committed to helping Texas A&M University achieve its stated diversity goals found in Imperative 6 of Vision 2020 which reads: “Texas A&M must reflect the demographic distribution of our state”, especially as it relates to the make-up of the faculty, staff, and student body at Texas A&M. * The new Academic Master Plan 2010-15 acknowledges that we are “at the halfway point” of Vision 2020, and is a great opportunity to recognize and applaud progress made, but also time take an honest and hard look at areas where improvement is still needed. * At the halfway point, Hispanic faculty at Texas A&M is at 4.5 percent, and Hispanic total enrollment for the student body is at 12.9 percent. While the Hispanic student enrollment has increased since 2000, this figure is still below the current demographic distribution of our state. Moreover, this is far below the demographic projections issued by the Texas State Data Center that indicate Hispanics will be the majority by 2020, and perhaps as early as 2015. We acknowledge that there are complex factors that go into these figures, but we can all agree that as the Hispanic population increases, the need for Hispanic representation at our university must increase as well. The remainder of the letter focuses on new leadership for the Corps of Cadets, following the resignation of General John Van Alstyne.

More turmoil at A&M; Corps commandant resigns, Perry’s involvement seen

Jan 27, 2010 By Paul Burka

This is the lead of the story from The Battalion, the student newspaper at A&M: After seven and a half years as commandant of the Corps of Cadets, Lt. Gen. John Van Alstyne resigned Friday [January 22]. "There are good young men and women in the Corps," Van Alstyne said. "It was an honor to serve as the commandant." Van Alstyne said he understood that the new commandant would be reporting to the vice president of student affairs Lt. Gen. Joe Weber. This has Rick Perry's fingerprints all over it. No major action occurs at A&M without his say-so. Perry believes that Aggie spirit is not what it used to be, and he had his allies at A&M bring Weber, a retired Marine lieutenant general, to the campus as vice president for student affairs last summer. To make room for Weber, then-president Elsa Murano fired the highly regarded occupant of the job, Dean Bresciani. I interviewed General Van Alstyne several years ago for a story I wrote about changes taking place at Texas A&M, and the resistance to them. Enrollment in the Corps of Cadets had been dropping for some time. The main reason was that "Corps games" -- a form of hazing -- in which younger cadets were encouraged to miss class and perform duties prescribed by upperclassmen were incompatible with academic success. The grade point average of the Corps was abysmal. Val Alstyne resolved to change this. He told me at the time that if the Corps did not change, it would die. The student leader of the Corps, whom I also interviewed, said the same thing. But the rank and file of cadets resisted the deemphasis on Corps games. No single issue is of more concern at A&M than whether Aggie spirit is what it ought to be. The Aggie vocabulary includes terms like "red ass" and "Old Army" to describe the ideal Aggie spirit. Weber was brought in, I believe, to bring back Bonfire, which thankfully has not happened yet, and to make the Corps more "red ass." Anita Van Alstyne, the commandant's wife, sent an e-mail to friends and supporters that has been forwarded to me:

Could Kansas State (62) vs. A&M (14) impact the governor’s race?

Oct 22, 2009 By Paul Burka

The issue here is cronyism in the 2008 hiring of football coach Mike Sherman, whose brief tenure has so far been, shall we say, less than a spectacular success, culminating in K-State’s pasting of the Aggies last Saturday, a game in which oddsmakers had made A&M the favorite. Brent Zwerneman,…

If Bonfire returns to campus: the Bowen safety plan

Sep 11, 2009 By Paul Burka

Here are some conditions that may — indeed, should — apply to its return. I found this by googling “Ray Bowen bonfire recommendations.” University president Ray Bowen said Friday [I believe the date referred to is September 8, 2001] that when the tradition does resume, in 2002 at…

Perry considering bringing Bonfire back to A&M as early as next year

Sep 8, 2009 By Paul Burka

This report is from Senior Editor Pam Colloff: In the course of working on an oral history of the A&M Bonfire tragedy for our November issue—a story that will mark the tenth anniversary of the Bonfire tragedy, which claimed the lives of twelve Aggies—I had the opportunity to interview Rick…