Dean Clough

November 20, 2023

Portico Darwin: The Shame at Texas A&M


<2 Minute Read

Happy Monday and let's get right to it by me saying I have nothing against the professors, instructors, nor students, past and present, at Texas A&M University. 

Today's title is instead about how a PUBLIC UNIVERSITY can fire the head coach of an athletic team and pay him over $75 MILLION to go away.  The coach's name is Jimbo Fisher (of course it is) and you can read more here.

Because the specifics of his contract and the payout of his millions don't really matter.  What matters is the wildly corrupt and broken system at Texas A&M and other mega football (and basketball, to a lesser degree) schools.  It enables a focus on sports that shouldn't exist at public institutions of higher learning. 

And that $75 million is a rounding error in major college football.  The money has gotten out of control and we must remember the purpose of universities in the first place.  They are not sports franchises.

Look, I like the pomp and circumstance of college football as much as anyone.  But that's largely gone now, replaced by the miasma of nutty rah-rah rich fans (colloquially called "boosters") and a shit-ton of money.  The traditional bowl games have been stripped of all meaning, and the regional conferences (Pac-12 or Southwest Conference, anyone?) are history, with "smaller" schools like Washington State and San Jose State on the outside looking in.

Much of this is also in service to the TV network paymeisters - they want the big teams, all of the time.  And they're willing to pay for it.  But is that a good thing?  "Student-athletes" - many now also making bank via the Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) charade - being the drivers of an industry that is beginning to rival the NFL? 

Remember, the best players now bounce around, via the transfer portal thing, looking for the best money deals at a given college.  NIL basically means how players are compensated and with what is no longer anybody's business.  Indeed, I heard the ex-NFL player and then college head coach Herm Edwards say he "lost out on 9 or 10 recruits to schools that offered more money and luxuries." 

I ask again - what is the purpose of our universities?  Couldn't all of this money be put to better use in service of more and better education?

I can hear some now:  "Oh, but Portico - what about your hero, Deion Sanders?  Isn't your beloved University of Colorado a public university, too?  Aren't they paying him big dollars?  Hasn't he created a circus?"

Yes, and I don't like a lot of his schtick.  But also no - Coach Prime's contract is meaningfully smaller.  And call me when the University of Colorado is mentioned in the same breath as Ohio, Georgia, LSU, Michigan or Alabama.

The overall situation in college football reflects the dark side of unregulated capitalism.  In this case, decisions are made to enrich the insiders (including the best players), vs. improving the lot of the average college student or applicant. 

I don't think that's right, at least not at a public university, like Texas A&M.

Have a great week, and to prove I'm not a total hater, here's a photo of A&M's football team mascot, a collie named Reveille.


Well, the news was hot and heavy from Denver.  Please join me in wishing our niece Nicki Vale and Windy City native Baron Belgium a great future - he popped the question just yesterday, in the very park where they had their first date, a year ago.  And he asked both parents for their sign-off on the whole enchilada, beforehand, AND had a friend hide and take photos.  All true and f'ing WOW!

Speaking of having babies (and not), the Tib-Bel party boy André Aurich was en fuego, regarding the post on Rush and birth control.

Hope this is not too sensitive a subject, but could this Rush contraceptive explain why you and Julie never had kids?  

Seriously, I love that you can poke fun at your favorite band.  

For me, it would be the joke:  What did the Deadhead say when he ran out of drugs?    

“This music sucks.”

Even Jerry got a chuckle from that last one.

Thank you for reading this newsletter. 


Let's call this an engagement gift to my niece and great friend, Nicki. 

Here - in all of his often sappy glory, a reason this is its first play here on KLUF - is Billy Joel and a playlist of his best songs.

Fun Fact:  Until a recent visit from Nicki, this playlist did not contain the song "Vienna."  I don't think I've ever seen her as pissed,  so I added it and she calmed down. 

So good luck, Baron, and welcome to the family.

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