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As many of you know, my parents are the biggest Aggie Fans in history. Our step dad (also my mom's high school sweetheart) graduated from Texas A & M in 1955 and went on to get his medical degree in psychiatry. He was a trumpet player in the Fighting Aggie Band throughout his college years. He started out life with very little financially and painstakingly worked his way though school and attributes his success to his college education at A & M University. After he became a successful psychiatrist, Dad decided to give back to the University that gave him his start in several ways.

The first thing he did was to establish a scholarship fund to help underprivileged students get their college degree. For years he sponsored students enabling them to attend A & M, the school that was his alma mater. Some of the students he helped still keep in touch with him to this day!!  He also endowed the university with trust funds.  One of the programs he entered into in his younger years was a 12th man program through the Aggie Football Team. As a member of the band and graduate of the school, he and many other donors were offered the opportunity to become a part of the exclusive "12th man" club after making an additional donation to the athletic department. In those days, these deals were made via a "Gentleman's Agreement" and many men entered into it after making their donations. In consideration for his support for the Aggie Football Team, Dad was given what was supposed to be lifelong parking in Parking Lot A, the closest lot to Kyle Field, where the football team plays home games. Also included were 4 seats on the 2nd deck 50 yard line.

For the last 30 years my parents have attended almost every home football game. In their 40's, they purchased a custom high rise van and outfitted it in the Texas A & M maroon and white colors and drove all over the country to attend all the away games. They continued to "follow the Aggies" where ever they played throughout their 50's 60's and early 70's. They planned their entire fall around these football games after their retirement. (Mom is a retired psychologist.) Following the Fighting Aggie Football Team has been one of the most important and gratifying experiences my parents have had since they retired.
On their travels, they met up with other Aggie Fans at both home and away games.

For 40 years dad has parked in parking lot A and migrated to the same seats year after year. Now, my parents are in their late 70's. My dad has survived stomach cancer and had to have his stomach removed. Throughout his treatment, they still attended every home game they possibly could. It is much harder for Dad to walk now since his health problems began. He must use a cane to get around but he and mom were planning their Aggie Football weekends already this spring and looking forward to seeing all their friends this fall.

Then, in June, they received an impersonal letter from the Texas A & M athletic department asking them to call right away to confirm their "preferred parking" in parking lot C. Dad called to say that there must be some mistake, that their parking space was in parking lot A. Oh no, he was told. You do not have enough "points" to park in parking lot A. What points, dad asked? You have to donate a certain amount of money each year now to get into parking lot A he was told. Well, why wasn't I notified he asked? He was told that no one was notified. On their own steam the athletic department just decided that they would calculate who had given the most money and those people would be given spots in parking lot A.

Mom and dad have contacted every single person they can think of including the President of Texas A & M University. The President's Office emailed back saying that the President did not get involved in matters concerning the athletic department. Mom and Dad even got in touch with the original person who entered into the Gentleman's Agreement back in the 1960's and he clearly remembers the agreement and said that many aging Aggies have been shoved to the sidelines with no notice at all and that there is nothing he can do about it....The general counsel for Texas A & M has been in touch with mom and dad and said "Sorry, y'all are out of luck."

Mom has tirelessly explained that dad is now walking with a cane and being in the parking lot closest to the field will make it possible for him to continue his support for his beloved team even into his 80's, God willing, but her requests fall on deaf ears. Texas A & M Athletic department doesn't have any heart at all for their elderly fans. (Bear in mind dad still has 2 large trusts in place for A & M but those don't mean anything at all to them.) My heart is just broken, that such an integral part of my parents lives is being ripped right out of their reach because dad is now not as able to walk as he once was and Texas A & M randomly decided after all these years to bump him out of his preferred parking spot just at the time when he needs it most. What's worse... they didn't even notify him in advance about the new point system so that he could have had the option to keep his spot by collecting points.

Basically, what A & M is saying is "Thanks old guy for supporting us all these years, but now you're way too old so we are just going to shove you aside like trash.....all the history, support and love you've had for the school means nothing at all to us. We are looking for bigger, richer, younger fish to hook because your time here on earth is limited!!! Shame on you Texas A & M University. I wish I could take back the 10,000 times I have sung the Fighting Aggie War Hymn over the past 50 years!!!

 

Posted 4:39 PM  View Comments

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