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The Byrne Ultimatum

It's basketball season, and Dollar Bill's blogging with newfound vitality.

That's good news for you, gentle readers. Bill's a verbose son of a gun, so I'll just stick to the highlights.

The Mailbag, Basketball Ticket Sales, and Track News

Feb. 3, 2010

Letters, we get letters, let’s start this week by answering some of your email.

We are getting repeated questions from fans who are watching the Aggies play basketball via their high definition flat screen televisions and want to know why they can’t see our games in HD. When you watch a game shown in standard definition on a HD television, the end product is usually grainy, dark, and a bit blurry. That’s one of the reasons we get complaints about the court lighting at Reed Arena following a standard definition broadcast, and compliments about our lighting following a HD broadcast.

More of our games are being broadcast in HD, but we’re told the television industry is still lacking sufficient numbers of HD production trucks to show all of the games in HD.

And during my high school years, I was told by numerous young ladies that they could not go out on Friday night because they had to wash their hair. Come to find out, they were using the bodily fluids of my smarter, better-looking, more athletic classmates as shampoo.


One of the questions being asked by our coaches is whether we want to continue with the parquet look [for the Reed Arena court]. They prefer a regular wood look. Frankly, as a long time fan of the Boston Celtics, I like the parquet look. I also like all their world championship banners hanging from the rafters, too.

I also like really pretty ladies. And candy apples. And I like furry little bunnies, too.

One of the things we wanted to change when I arrived here, was the monopoly our friends in the state capital had on the outline of the State of Texas and the star symbol. We want to inculcate the symbols and values of the State of Texas, too.

Furthermore, we in the Athletic Department have a strong desire to incapacitate our students into the history of our Great State. We will do this through a conceited effort to exemplify Texas-related symbiosis in our various on-campus athletic vacillations. As part of this fuselage, we have hired a professional carphologer to design a decapitulation of the state of Texas that will be stenographed at center court.

That’s why having the T-Star mark and the outline of the State of Texas at center court at Reed is important. At the same time, the design took a long time to be accepted by some of our fans. In addition to the brand we have established for basketball, our teams have become much more nationally recognized because of our play. Now our fans, and basketball fans across America who see our games or highlights, know quickly via our court markings they are watching Texas A&M play basketball.

That's so awesomely patronizing. "Now that we've painted a giant, one-letter logo on the court, even the drooling illiterates who root for Texas A&M can identify their favorite team."

Let’s talk about the BCS. This last week, Sen. Orrin Hatch put out a news release talking about the United States Justice Department possibly investigating the BCS. One of the threats made was whether the foundations, like the 12th Man Foundation and Longhorn Foundation, which fund college athletics would continue to receive non-profit status from the IRS. Click here to read the letter from the Justice Department's Office of Legislative Affairs to Senator Hatch, and here to read Bill Hancock's response.

There was a time in recent history when the individual conferences had contracts with all the major bowls, including the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange. Going back to this process would restrict folks like the Mountain West, Western Athletic Conference, and Conference USA to participating in bowls not played on New Year’s Day. This last year, the mid-majors received the largest bowl pay out in their history and it would not have happened without the BCS. I understand how these conferences feel about this issue, but they better be careful what they wish for. Do the complainers want to go back to those good-ole days? The BCS could go away in a flash at the end of the current contract in 2013. I know in speaking with some of the bowls, they would welcome the BCS going away.

If we want to have a college football playoff, I think the plan I proposed some years ago would work. At the time, I was supported by a lot of Division I athletic directors. Click here to read the plan.

I'll save you the trouble of clicking on the link. Here's Bill's plan:

It was a great win for our men’s basketball team against Texas Tech last Saturday night and a sad loss for our women’s team against OSU on Sunday. At the risk of repeating myself, because I’ve said it before,

The risk of repeating yourself when saying something you've admittedly said before: 100%.

if you don’t play your best every day, you will get beat because the Big 12 Conference is so strong.

I’m so proud of our fans. It was a late game on Saturday night, and people showed up in large numbers and had a real impact on the game. We had a Reed Arena record 13,648 and were in a sold-out situation for the first time this season.

Our student body continues to impress me.

Especially the student bodies in the equestrian team.

When I travel with our team, or watch other teams on television, I like to compare those crowds with our student section. And I’m happy to report we top almost every other venue in the nation except for a few like Cameron Indoor, Allen Fieldhouse, Bramlage Coliseum, and MacArthur Court.

So... even under the entirely subjective, completely opaque and inevitably A&M-biased methodology that Bill applied to judge the dozen or so crowds he's seen in person and on television, Aggy ranked fifth at best? That's like your high school principal opining during graduation that your class "is probably one of the ten or so most impressive senior classes I've seen in my 15 years of teaching."

We have many unique qualities at Texas A&M, and I believe the sheer number of students attending our sporting events is one of the most unique.

Aggie Tradition #142: at every sporting event, Aggies attend in sheer numbers.

With that said, on Sunday we had what seemed like one percent of the students from the night before attending the women’s game.

One of the not-so-unique qualities at Texas A&M is that nobody attends their women's sporting events.

One of the things I am going to ask our Yell Leaders to do at our women’s games is to combine our student sections so we have the largest number of fans behind our opponent’s basket each half.


TO: All Employees

FROM: Athletic Director Bill Byrne

RE: Departmental Reorganization

In response to some recent organizational failures, I have decided to redistribute the work load among the various divisions of the Athletic Dept. The following changes will take effect immediately.

1. The all-male cheerleading squad is to oversee seating charts and allocation of tickets blocks for all athletic events.

2. Payroll will be moved from Accounting. All checks and disbursements will henceforth be processed by the Fightin' Aggy Band woodwinds section.

3. Purchasing and Receiving will now report to the women's golf team.

4. Student Academic Counseling will be chaired by Reveille.


Bill Byrne

I still recall the scene at one of our football games a few years ago, when late in the game the students on the third deck moved from one end to the other during overtime. It made an impact. I’d like our students to make an impact at our women’s games, too.

Remember the good old days when Kyle Field was half-empty for thrilling overtime victories? That was awesome.

And, was it really necessary to note that overtime was "late in the game?"

Tonight our No. 10 women’s team will host Missouri at 6 p.m. It’s a little earlier than we usually start our mid-week games, but we wanted to eliminate the head-to-head conflict with our men’s game at Missouri which will start at 8 p.m. and be televised by ESPNU.

We are hosting local elementary school students at the women’s game tonight. Special discount tickets for this group can be found here.

Whenever I host guests at my home, I make sure to give them a 10% discount on admission. Concessions are full price, though.


We really need to sell out Reed Arena for the Kansas game. One of the reasons ESPN selects games for Big Monday is they want the sold-out, electric atmosphere for the broadcast. A capacity crowd not only helps ESPN, but more importantly, it can have an impact on how our team plays. Let’s make sure we provide Coach Mark Turgeon and our Aggies the best home court advantage we can for Big Monday.

Oh, Coach Mark Turgeon. I'm glad Bill specified which Mark Turgeon he was talking about. That would have been really confusing otherwise.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the Old Army Spirit section $5 seats for home men’s basketball games. That’s right, $5 seats to every men’s basketball home game, except Kansas and with our friends from the state capital. This was made possible through a sponsorship by the Old Army Spirit Company on Harvey Road in College Station. Just stop by the store beginning the first business day after our last home game to purchase these special $5 seats for sections 201-203.

Let me see if I understand this. I only have to pay $5 for a seat at a men's basketball home game, so long as I wait to buy my tickets until after the final men's basketball home game? Sounds like a great deal with no catch!

Make plans to be at Reed Arena on Saturday, Feb. 13 for our annual Beat the Hell Outta Breast Cancer women’s basketball game.

Also, don't forget these other great charitable events:

* Totally Kick the Shit Out Of Diabetes volleyball invitational

* Fuck Up Lupus Real Bad football spring scrimmage

* Autism Gets a Well-Deserved Asskickin' women's soccer banquet

* Shitstomp Sickle Cell Anemia equestrian show

We will pink-out Reed...

Ouch. Sucks to be Reed. our No. 10 women host Kansas State at 7 p.m. Our goal is to raise $30,000 for the Coach Kay Yow Foundation.

The official BTHO pink T-shirts are on-sale at each basketball game for $5, and all proceeds go to the Yow Foundation thanks to The Med.

I love the Yow Foundation. They sang "Too Shy, Shy," right?

The Texas A&M Challenge indoor meet with teams from the Pac 10, Big 12, and SEC, was the best indoor track and field meet in the nation, and will be the best meet of the year anywhere in the country until the NCAA Championships are held in Fayetteville, Ark., in March. The Big 12 won the meet, and there were great marks set during the two days, including six world-leading marks set by what are arguably the three best track and field conferences in the country.

Our teams set four school records, including Tabarie Henry (no relation to Coach Pat Henry)...

No shit?

Pat Henry.

Tabarie Henry

...who won his debut in the open 400 with a 45.81 world-leading time that supplanted a 21-year-old A&M mark of 45.94 set by Howard Davis in 1989. Tabarie was named Big 12 Male Athlete of the Week.

Which is a rather fortunate coincidence, since he's a male.

Equestrian had a big win to start their spring season last Saturday. Our No. 3 team beat Delaware State, 15-5, at the Brazos County Expo Center.

15-5? Wow! That's a fucking slaughter in equestrian. I think.

We’ll be in the DFW Metroplex Friday. The hunter seat squad will face SMU at 10 a.m. at the Mustangs' facility in Wilmer.

Dude. Hunter's a lucky man.

Our No. 6 men’s golf team began defense of our national championship earlier this week at the Arizona Invitational. We finished fifth as a team, while sophomore Jordan Russell placed fourth individually.

Given that the defending national champion Aggie golf team finished fifth in this tournament, I would like to suggest the following more accurate report:

"Our No. 6 men's golf team successfully began its campaign to hand off the Men's Golf National Championship to another, better team this week at the Arizona Invitational. We finished fifth as a team, behind four teams more capable than the Aggies of winning this year's national championship, while sophomore Jordan Russell placed fourth individually, and is thus unlikely to win an individual national championship unless injuries or other misfortunes befall at least the three players who beat him in Arizona."

Softball and baseball are practicing, and that means winter has officially arrived.

That's just meteorological fact.


Today is National Signing Day for football, soccer, and track and field. Our coaches in all three of these sports have worked hard to sign quality student-athletes to wear the maroon and white.

...which just goes to show that Aggies don't quit. They may not succeed, but they won't quit.