It seems every week some athlete sticks his proverbial foot in his mouth by tweeting something either politically incorrect or just plain stupid on twitter. But what about a university administrator on a message board?
Yep, it seems Texas A&M athletics’ CFO and Associate Athletic Director Jeff Toole was bashing A&M President R. Bowen Loftin on an Aggie message board. Toole admitted today that under the username UtayAg, he called Loftin a “putz” and a “hopelessly underqualified puppet.”
Toole told the San Antonio Express that he thought the postings would be anonymous and that the crucial fact – he could get caught, “slipped his mind.” Today he issued the following statement. “The opinion expressed was mine and not that of the AD or the department. Nor do my personal opinions affect my work or the quality thereof. I do of course fear that I will not long be employed. There is freedom of speech, but not freedom from consequences.”
Now that the damage is done, the next questions to ask are, why the complaining about Loftin and what does A&M do about it.
The why is easy. Loftin and Aggie Athletic Director Bill Byrne are in a power struggle following Mike Sherman’s 6-6 football campaign. The Aggies started the season a consensus Top 10 pick and might have finished the season that way had the Aggies not blow four double-digit leads, and a nine-point lead to hated Texas. The 6-6 finish is a terminal result, especially for a program set to join the SEC West where it’s completion includes LSU, Alabama, Auburn, and Arkansas.
What will A&M do now? Well this is where the story – at present, unfolds like all coaching rumors in December (or November 30). You take the facts, add in some half-truths, and flavor heavily with supposition. According to sources Byrne and Loftin don’t see eye-to-eye on Sherman’s future in College Station. Both men have influential boosters on their side which is muddying the water. The hot rumor today goes that former Aggie head coach Jackie Sherrill along with former Alabama head coach Gene Stallings are supporting Loftin, who may parlay their support into firing both Sherman and Byrne. Loftin would then search for a new AD while the boys with Alabama ties bring in Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to run the football program.
Will this happen? Who knows. Is this the best decision for AggieLand? I’d say no way without first contacting Art Briles. What we do know is if the Aggies want to blow out Sherman they’d better act quickly. Pitchforks and torches are already being lit for Derek Dooley in Knoxville following Tennessee’s first loss to Kentucky in 40 years. With openings already at UCLA, North Carolina, Arizona State, Ole Miss, Illinois, etc., Texas A&M better not find itself losing out on a coach who’d prefer to bring the Aggies into the SEC but has already committed elsewhere.