From the Annals of Higher Learning – In 1876, Gov. Richard Coke dedicated the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas now known as Texas A&M University. It was the state’s first public college. TAMU’s origins trace back to the Morrill Act of 1862. This act provided for donation of public land to the states for the purpose of funding higher education whose “leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and mechanic arts.” In November 1866, Texas agreed to create a college under the terms of the Morrill Act. Actual formation did not occur until the establishment of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas by the Texas state legislature on April 17, 1871. A commission created to locate the institution accepted the offer of 2,416 acres of land from the citizens of Brazos County in 1871. Admission was limited to white males who, as required by the Morrill Act, were required to participate in military training.
This week features a match up of the two oldest public universities in the State. And you probably can’t guess at least one of them. For the first time in 140 years, Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M will meet at Kyle Field on Saturday. Although the schools are only about 45 miles apart, more than geography has separated the two institutions. Texas’s first public universities were created by the same legislation, but separated by race for more than 100 years.
As far as football goes, the two programs are vastly different. PV suffered through the longest losing streak in college football history losing 80 straight at one point. TAMU has been a regular in the Top 25 for decades. It’s the first time that the Aggies will play a Southwestern Athletic Conference team from one of the historically black colleges. For PV, it’s the first time they will have played a team from one of the Power Five conferences.
Kudos to A&M System Chancellor John Sharp for making this game a priority. Red hopes that PV takes away something more than the $450,000 boost for their athletic program. Chancellor Sharp has similar sentiments.
“The money part is not the most important thing. It’s being associated with a great university. Playing in a game like that is something that enhances their reputation.”
Still it seems unlikely that the Panthers can keep pace with the Aggies, but it might be a more competitive game than expected as PV has turned its program around. Red calls TAMU 42 PV 22.
On a final note, is there a university out there with a more romantic sounding name than Prairie View? Only Bowling Green comes to mind.
KHOU is reporting that one Texas A&M student is dead and four others have been arrested for possession at the Sigma Nu chapter in College Station.
Police have arrested four men after a student died at a Texas A&M fraternity house this weekend. Police found LSD, Ecstasy and THC on the four fraternity members they arrested inside the Sigma Nu house.
Investigators also told KHOU 11 News, they believe the members tried to move the body of the deceased to cover up the drugs. Outside their chapter house on Fraternity Row, members asked for privacy and declined comment. The arrested are Samuel Patterson, 21, Michael Frymire, 20, Christian Sandford, 18, and Ty Robertson, 21.
“I hate to hear that happened because it’s just kids trying to have a party and it turns into something like this, it gets very real very quickly,” said Harrison Brewer, a neighbor.
Sports Illustrated reports that former Texas A&M trainer Karl Kapchinski claims that series of Aggie Football Head Coaches repeatedly pressured him to clear players to return to action when they were still recovering from injuries. This would likely not be news except that SI has a pretty good reputation for accurate reporting and . . . it is just so easy to believe – especially when some coach’s million dollar plus salary is on the line. Weigh all that money against the fact that some 20 year old who probably won’t play pro football might just have to limp for the rest of his life or suffer a debilitating brain injury, and Red guesses the decision is fairly easy for the less scrupulous of college coaches.
Kapchinski said there were times when he regretted clearing players under pressure from the coach because it resulted in players incurring additional injuries.
“There’s been a lot of great quality athletic trainers that have subsequently lost their jobs because they stood up for the players or were doing the right thing,” Kapchinski said.
Kapchinski worked at Texas A&M for 31 years after graduating from the school in 1979. He was fired suddenly in 2013 at age 56, and has filed a lawsuit against A&M claiming he was removed because of his age.
While getting stomped by Alabama at Kyle Field on Saturday, A&M football fans could at least revel in the fact that Texas had lost to TCU by a score of 50-7. Except that the humiliating defeat happened two weeks ago before Texas pulled off a stunning upset of then No. 10 Oklahoma. And when the Aggies played a No. 10 Alabama team what happened? They were pummeled 41-23 giving up 3 – count ’em 3 – pick sixes. But really, the Aggies don’t care about UT anymore. They will much too busy finishing in 4th place in the West Division of the SEC to give a damn about what is happening in Austin.
Bill Mahomes, the first black student to graduate from Texas A&M after four year in the Corps, has been appointed to the University Board of Regents. Mahomes time at A&M was far from easy and for many years he felt somewhat alienated from the school. Mahomes persevered through a tough first year earning the respect of his fellow “fish”. He now returns to the campus as a regent, something he never dreamed would happen as a young man.
It may have been naïve, but Mahomes showed up on the A&M campus in 1965 thinking he’d have no problems. The university was in the middle of transforming from a small-town agricultural college to a major research institute. It was known for its rigid conservatism, but it didn’t have a reputation for civil rights strife.
Mahomes had seen reports from across the south of universities resisting integration. But there had hardly been a peep out of A&M when three black students enrolled in summer classes in 1963. A&M’s military culture simply didn’t tolerate protests – for or against integration.
That much was clear to Mahomes when he arrived. Early in his studies, a group of stern-faced upperclassmen pulled him into a dorm room and demanded to know which civil rights group he represented.
“Who sent you here?” one student asked.
Confused, Mahomes answered: “My parents.”
The older cadets paused, and then one laughed.
“If the civil rights folks were going to plant someone here at A&M, they sure wouldn’t have picked [Mahomes],” the cadet said.
The Corps helped, too. It was an organization where students’ differences are often ignored or concealed. Freshman cadets wore their uniforms to class and had their heads shaved. They even lost their first names – becoming known as “fish” instead.
Members were tough on each other, but were also expected to bond. Freshmen went to class together, marched together and ate two meals a day together. If one of them got in trouble, the whole group got in trouble. His classmates defended him from other students. And upperclassmen would berate freshmen if they harassed their fellow “fish.”
That close proximity forced classmates to get to know him, and eventually respect him. They saw him struggle to catch up in school and watched as he put up with extra attention. By the end of his freshman year, he began to see signs that he belonged.
The most important moment came at an end-of-year party. One night, about 30 or 40 of the freshman cadets left campus for a celebratory dinner. Mahomes came along. But as they walked into the restaurant, the wait staff told the group that they wouldn’t serve Mahomes.
No one made a scene or gave a speech about equal rights. Instead, they all just stood up and left. As they walked out, one of the classmates joked to Mahomes, “We can’t take you anywhere.”
“That was the day I really gained respect for my class, and really felt that we were making progress,” Mahomes said.
LSU has rejected the possibility of the Tigers playing Texas A&M on Thanksgiving in Baton Rouge in 2015 according to CBS Sports.
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva told The Advocate there has been a push to move this year’s regular season finale against Texas A&M to Thanksgiving night, but prior traditions and the quest for ratings will not shake the AD’s stance on home games in Tiger Stadium.
Last season, the Aggies hosted LSU in a 23-17 loss on that Thursday night — the slot previously dedicated to their annual rivalry game against Texas. While Texas A&M may continue that tradition at home with the Tigers, Alleva said there is no chance the game gets moved from Saturday to Thursday under his watch.
“As long as I’m here, we will not play in Tiger Stadium on a Thursday,” Alleva said “I guarantee you that.”
It is possible, according The Advocate, that the game gets moved to the Friday after Thanksgiving, a spot on the calendar where LSU has frequently played Arkansas in the past.
Too bad for Red, who really likes watching the Cowboys and the Aggies lose on Turkey Day. Unfortunately, he also gets to see the Longhorns lose.
Image from http://www.tigertailgating.com