For six weeks, Texas A&M students and fans have been planning to create a white-out atmosphere at Kyle Field during Saturday's home football game against Baylor. Organizers intend to support state wildfire relief efforts by selling white T-shirts and maroon towels, with more than 1,000 sales registered per week so far, according to student body president Jeff Pickering.
However, some feel A&M athletic director Bill Byrne hasn't done their efforts any favors by posting this yesterday in his "Wednesday Weekly" blog: "When the television cameras turn on, there is no better sight than the sea of maroon coming from the 12th Man. We encourage fans to always wear maroon, because maroon is Texas A&M."
Members of the Aggie Wildfire Relief Group claim they approached A&M officials with their white-out idea more than a month ago, and were told the university would not interfere with their efforts. A few have whistled Byrne for interference.
Others remain hopeful that the blog post will have limited impact in the end. "I think as the athletic director he has the right to say whatever he wants, but I mean I think the student body is still going to wear white because they have been representing it all over the place, especially Facebook," A&M University student Emily Smith told College Station CBS affiliate KBTX.
"This is totally a student body effort," added Pickering. "I think when our students wake up on Saturday morning for this historic last game against Baylor, kind of a Battle of the Brazos, we'll be wearing white and waving maroon to stand for our fellow Texans."
It was the second time in five days that Byrne found himself embroiled in controversy based on his own use of online media. On Saturday, he alleged via Twitter that the interior of A&M team buses had been vandalized with spray paint and animal feces after the Aggies football game at Texas Tech, ending the tweet with a word of snark: "Classy."
According to the San Antonio Press-News, Tech officials didn't appreciate the broad-brush manner in which their university and fan base were implicated and attempted to set the record straight, claiming that washable shoe polish and fish bait were used in the act and that the mess was cleaned up before Byrne even saw it.
A Tech statement issued Monday read, "While incidents such as the ones alleged are inappropriate and strongly condemned by Texas Tech, it is no less wrong to condemn the entirety of our university, students and supporters by posting inaccurate information on the Internet for the purpose of sensationalizing the actions of one or a very few."