Tag Archives: Texas A&M

Texas Tech vet school? Call it a ‘done deal’

You now may say that Texas Tech University’s plans to build a school of veterinary medicine in Amarillo is a done deal.

The Amarillo City Council’s decision Tuesday to sign off on a $69 million pledge to Tech puts the city’s seal of approval on a plan that the university says will generate tens of millions of dollars annually to the Panhandle economy.

It also will educate hundreds of veterinarians who will care for animals vital to the region’s lifeblood.

Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, along with a charitable trust, stepped up to donate land and to guarantee as much as $69 million for the $90 million project.

This, I submit, is a big day for Amarillo’s future growth and prosperity.

Do you remember the push back that Tech got from a competitor, Texas A&M University, which at this moment operates the only veterinary medical school in Texas? It appears that A&M, led by Chancellor John Sharp, has relented. Sharp had expressed opposition to Tech’s desire to build a vet school.

To my reckoning, Sharp and the A&M hierarchy never made the case that Texas couldn’t possibly play host to two schools of veterinary medicine. This is a big state, full of aspiring students who want to work for their communities. Texas Tech has now given a segment of them a chance to do exactly that.

Tech had plenty of help, from AEDC and from the family of Amarillo philanthropist Mary Emeny, which donated the land where Tech will build the school.

As the Amarillo Globe-News has reported: “This investment by the EDC ensures the vet school will happen and also challenges industry and community partners to join in the success of making this vet school happen,” Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said. “The timing of Amarillo’s investment before the legislative appropriations request will increase the momentum of private fundraising and hopefully assist the legislative funding request. Funding for the project will come from annual tax revenues, which is sales tax, recognized by the EDC. The estimated annual economic impact for the veterinary school of medicine will be $76 million annually to Amarillo.”

I am willing to bet real American money that “industry and community partners” will welcome Tech’s expanded presence in the Texas Panhandle.

Stick to energy issues, Secretary Perry

Count me as one of those who is astonished at comments from Energy Secretary Rick “Oops” Perry.

What got the new energy boss’s dander up? Get a load of this.

He’s angry that Texas A&M University’s Student Government Association has elected its first openly gay president.

Wow! Um, Secretary Perry, you have a full plate of national security and energy issues that deserve your attention. I get that you’re a dedicated Aggie grad, a former yell leader at A&M and former Texas governor.

But holy crap, dude!

Perry said Bobby Brooks’ election was “stolen” from another candidate who was disqualified on technical grounds.

Gig ’em, Rick?

“The desire of the electorate is overturned, and thousands of student votes are disqualified, because of free glow sticks that appeared for eleven seconds of a months-long campaign,” Perry wrote to the Houston Chronicle. “Apparently glow sticks merit the same punishment as voter intimidation.”

I am not going to get into the details of a student body government election. I have no dog in that fight. Nor do I have any particular interest in it.

It astounds me, though, that Secretary Perry would even decide to weigh in on this matter. Of all the things that should occupy the secretary’s attention now that he has a new job in the Trump administration, one would think that a Texas A&M University SGA election would barely appear on his radar screen.

According to the Houston Chronicle: “Mark Jones, a Rice University political science professor who has watched Perry political career rise and fall for years, said he, too, was surprised by Perry’s intervention into the A&M election.

“‘This must be his inner Aggie speaking, because this is certainly not something you expect a cabinet secretary to weigh in on – actually, probably not even a governor,’ Jones said. ‘It’s strange. Of all the things he could have an opinion on, this is probably not the smartest move for a cabinet secretary. He must really be upset about it.'”

Yep. He’s mad and he’s going to throw the weight of his office behind some real or feigned outrage over Bobby Brooks’ election as student body president.

C’mon, Mr. Secretary. Let the new SGA boss do his job … whatever the heck it is. Brooks’ first priority, after all, ought to focus on his studies.

I think it’s reasonable to ask: Would the energy secretary be as hopped up over this if Bobby Brooks weren’t gay?

University hears white supremacist … and students protest

richard-spencer-national-policy-institute_milima20161123_0013_11

Texas A&M University isn’t generally known as a bastion of progressive causes the way, say, the University of Texas-Austin is known.

They don’t call it the “People’s Republic of Austin” for nothing,  you know.

Still, it’s heartening to see the reaction to a speech delivered by white supremacist Richard Spencer at the College Station campus. The students protested the rantings of this guy who leads something called the National Policy Institute, but he was allowed to speak his mind and offer views that come from whatever it is that passes for his heart.

“America belongs to white men,” Spencer said. Yes, he really said that and I guess he means it.

It’s utterly preposterous and reprehensible on its face, but this clown had a right to deliver his idiotic message.

http://www.aol.com/article/news/2016/12/07/america-belongs-to-white-men-controversial-alt-right-leader-s/21622550/?ncid=facebookfanpageusaolp00000002

The university didn’t sanction Spencer’s appearance at its flagship campus. The A&M System office made it clear that Spencer was invited by a private group that had requested use of a student hall to allow him to speak. There had been talk of trying to persuade the university to disallow his speech. That, in my view, would have been counterproductive.

It’s been said that it is better to keep the bad guys out in the open where you can see them and track their every move.

Richard Spencer was on full public display at Texas A&M. Now he’s gone on to spread his disgraceful message in other venues.

Don’t hurry back, young man.

Manziel vows sobriety … just do it, young man

johnny-manziel

“Johnny Football” Manziel has told TMZ he’s going to be “completely sober” by July 1.

That’s tomorrow.

I want to offer the young man a bit of unsolicited advice.

“Tomorrow” never comes when you place a deadline such as that on yourself.

The one-time Texas A&M University football great and former Heisman Trophy winner has been on a horrendous spiral that has ruined his professional football career.

Worse, it is ruining his life.

I am pulling hard for Manziel to pull his head out of whichever body cavity he has inserted it. I want him to succeed in life. Whether he’s able to regain his athletic form would be an added plus.

However, allow me this one final bit of advice.

I once smoked cigarettes like a freight train. Two-plus packs a day, man. How did I quit the weeds? I wadded them up and tossed them into the garbage.

I quit cold turkey … on the spot. That was more than 36 years ago.

I didn’t wait for “tomorrow.”

One does not put such artificial deadlines on ending bad behavior.

If the young athlete intends to sober up, he’d better just act immediately on his intentions and not wait for the sun to rise the next day.

Too many celebrities have learned in the worst way possible that the sun might not shine.

May the right university system win

reg_vet-img

My pal Jon Mark Beilue — a columnist for the Amarillo Globe-News — as usual, has laid out a fascinating critique of a growing dispute between two highly regarded Texas university systems.

One of them, Texas Tech, just announced plans to build and develop a college of veterinary medicine in Amarillo.

The other one, Texas A&M, has fired a shot across Tech’s bow, implying it will resist the effort to build an animal doctor school in the Texas Panhandle.

Beilue, himself a Tech alumnus, has taken up for his alma mater. But he’s right on the merits of his argument to argue that A&M is better than to exhibit a petulant streak in seeking to block Tech’s entry into the world of veterinary medicine academia. A&M’s credentials as a premier veterinary medicine institution are impeccable.

But let’s boil this possible tempest down to a more personal level.

Two men are leading their schools’ efforts. They both have at least one political thing in common: They both served in the Texas Senate.

Bob Duncan is chancellor of the Tech System. He’s a Republican who left the Senate this past year to take over the Tech job after Kent Hance retired to become something called “chancellor emeritus.”

Duncan’s Senate reputation is sparkling. He was named routinely by Texas Monthly magazine every two years as one of the top legislators in the state. His job now as chancellor is to raise money for the Tech System and he gets to lobby his friends in the Senate for help in that regard.

John Sharp served in the Senate quite a while ago, from 1982 to 1987; prior to that he served in the Texas House of Representatives. He’s a Democrat, who left the Senate to serve on the Texas Railroad Commission and then as Comptroller of Public Accounts. He, too, developed a reputation as a solid legislator, although he has fewer individuals with whom he served in the Legislature than his rival chancellor, Duncan.

This face-off will be fun to watch, particularly if it develops into something more than it appears at the moment.

I hope it doesn’t grow into anything more serious. Texas Tech is entitled to develop school of veterinary medicine anywhere it so chooses. That the system brass decided to bring it to Amarillo is a huge plus for the Texas Panhandle.

My hope would be that if Sharp stiffens his resistance that Duncan could call on his fellow Republican buddies in the Panhandle legislative delegation to use their own considerable muscle to make the veterinary school a reality.

As Beilue pointed out in his essay, the value of a veterinary school to any region of this state should rise far above petty politics.

 

 

 

Perry to Aggies: I'm thinking about running

Here’s a news flash: Texas Gov. Rick Perry said some other things to college graduates besides declining an offer to have a building named after him at Texas A&M University.

Such as — he’s thinking about running for president of the United States of America.

That’s kind of a big deal, yes?

Perry spoke at the Texas A&M convocation. He told graduates the school from which he graduated shouldn’t name the Academic Building after him. Then he went on to say that he’s pondering another run for the White House.

http://blog.mysanantonio.com/texas-politics/2014/12/perry-teases-presidential-run-in-speech-to-aggies/#13219101=0

He ticked off his credentials as someone who governed a state with the world’s 13th-largest economy and oversaw a group of individuals who “bicker a lot,” referring to the Legislature.

He told the A&M grads he’ll be looking for a job in about 30 days, just as they will.

Is this a precursor to a presidential run? Yes, it sounds like it to me.

I hope he jumps in. I’ve already spoken out in favor of Mitt Romney getting back into the game. I’m inclined also to welcome Jeb Bush into the Republican presidential field.

Why not — to coin the late Molly Ivins’s term — Gov. Goodhair?

He’s got the look, the charisma, some governing experience and he’s developing a pretty good gift of gab.

Perry’s ideas about the role of government, though, don’t quite set well with some of us out here. He’s inclined to be anti-federal government, which is sort of an dubious stance for someone who wants to oversee it.

But what the heck. He gave us a few laughs the last time he ran for the White House in 2012. Maybe he’s got a few more gag lines up his sleeve the next time around.

Bring it, governor!

 

Texas: reddest of the Red States

Texas is Ground Zero — pardon the reference — of the conservative movement.

That’s the assessment of Dan Balz, a veteran Washington Post political reporter, who uses land commissioner candidate George P. Bush as his example of the state’s rightward shift.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-has-become-epicenter-of-conservative-movement/2014/09/20/71678e12-410f-11e4-a430-b82a3e67b762_story.html

Bush is the grandson and nephew of two former presidents and the son of a former Florida governor. All three of his ancestors, Balz said, used to personify the “kinder, gentler” wing of the Republican Party. Bush thinks GOP firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz is the future of his party and he said so at a gathering of pols and pundits at a Texas Tribune talk-fest held in Austin.

Indeed, the view that Texas is leading the conservative charge probably isn’t that much of a surprise. Even when it leaned heavily Democratic, its officeholders weren’t usually considered — at that time, at least — to be squishy liberals. The most successful Democrats in the state were folks like John Connally, Lloyd Bentsen, Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson. Yes, you had your occasional lefty in there, such as Ralph Yarborough and then Ann Richards.

The last Democrat elected to statewide office in 1994 was John Sharp, hardly a lefty, who’s now chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.

So, Texas has leaned right for longer than the GOP has been in control of everything.

As for the model of today’s modern conservatism in Texas, look at Dan Patrick, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. He’s just recently declared his intention to rid the state of the DREAM Act, which allows Texans brought here illegally by their parents to enroll in state public colleges and universities as “in-state” students, paying in-state tuition rates.

Gov. Rick Perry, a fiery conservative if there ever was one, endorses the DREAM Act. Not Patrick. If he’s elected, he’ll get rid of it.

Yep, the state is No. 1 all right.

Powerhouses vs. Cupcakes

I truly get that upsets can and do happen on college football fields.

Still, it was a bit shocking to read early Saturday that Lamar University was going to take the field against Texas A&M University in a game played at Kyle Field, home of the Twelfth Man.

Why the shock?

Well, for starters, Lamar is just three years into a return to college football. It shelved the program in the 1980s over lack of money, enthusiasm and ability to win games. I was in Beaumont at the time and I remember the demise of the program.

http://collegesportsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/09/five-thoughts-from-texas-ams-big-73-3-win-over-lamar.html/

So, to get a revenue boost for its athletic department, Lamar University scheduled the Aggies, one of the better teams in the country and the school that produced last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny “Football” Manziel.

I do not understand why schools need to overmatch themselves in this fashion. The Aggies put a serious beat-down on the Cardinals, winning 73-3.

What does a beating like that do to a college athlete’s emotional structure? I’ve never heard that issue discussed. Perhaps there ought to be some conversation about it.

I get why they play the game at the powerhouse’s home field. The visiting team gets a cut of the revenue generated and they take the money back supposedly to invest in the future. The money pays for better equipment, scholarships, those kinds of things.

I also know that — on occasion, but it’s very rare — the visiting Cupcake surprises the dickens out of the host Powerhouse. Do you recall when Appalachian State went to Ann Arbor, Mich., a couple of years ago and upset the mighty Wolverines in The Big House? It’s a rare event. To be sure, Lamar wasn’t the only college football to get hammered into the turf Saturday.  

Sure, upsets do occur. It’s also possible — although not likely — that the sun could rise in the west.

The kind of score that we saw run up against Lamar by the Aggies, however, doesn’t do much good for anyone.

 

 

College student-athletes may unionize

College athletic tradition has just taken a serious — and potentially devastating — punch in the gut.

Call me a fuddy-duddy. That’s OK. I’ll admit to being such where it regards college athletics. A ruling out of Chicago is potentially quite disturbing — to me, at least.

A National Labor Relations Board hearings officer has ruled that Northwestern University student-athletes are employees of the school and therefore should be allowed to form a union if they so desire.

http://www.psmag.com/navigation/politics-and-law/northwestern-football-players-win-union-ruling-now-77616/

This might open the door eventually to paying student-athletes real money — above board and over the table, instead of under it … allegedly — to play college sports.

Let’s not overstate the immediate impact of this NLRB decision. It’s only a highly preliminary action. The full NLRB board must consider it. The full board might think differently. If it does, you can rest assured the student-athletes who have sued for the right to unionize will appeal it to the federal judicial system. If the NLRB upholds this decision, then look for colleges and universities to file a counter-claim that also will wind its way through the court system.

I get all the arguments in favor of allowing unionization for student-athletes. They do make money for the school they are attending. Did Heisman Trophy winner Johnny “Football” Manziel bring a few extra fans to Kyle Stadium when he played for Texas A&M University? You bet he did.

He also was getting a fully paid college education in the process. His football talent enabled him to win a full-ride scholarship to one of the better schools in the world. Sure, I get that he well might not have taken his classroom obligation as seriously as his football obligation. He wouldn’t be the first student-athlete to, um, forget to crack the textbook while burning the midnight oil studying the playbook.

Manziel is just one example out of many hundreds across the country.

This decision well could change fundamentally the way we view college athletics and those who participate in them.

It makes me seriously uncomfortable to think that these young men and women could well become professionals before they turn pro.

Hilarious ‘punishment’ for Johnny Football

I laughed out loud a little while ago when I heard the news: Johnny “Football” Manziel will be suspended for the first half of Texas A&M’s game with Rice for breaking a rule prohibiting players from getting paid for autographs.

Why even have any punishment if that’s all he’s going to get?

http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/johnny-manziel-texas-aggies-suspended-first-half-rice-082813

Manziel won the Heisman Trophy this past season as a freshman. He’s been a sensation at College Station. Manziel may be one of the exciting football players in the past half-century.

But then he got ahead of himself, apparently, when he signed autographs and reportedly got paid for his signature. The allegations have prompted debate over whether college athletes should be paid. My view? The free college education that blue-chip athletes get at these schools is payment enough, thank you very much.

My thought was that Johnny Football would get much more of a punishment than he got. Maybe half a season. But half a game?

The NCAA enforcers cannot possibly be serious.