Independence Day in Aggieland came a few days early this year. While 99% of the nation was most likely gathering fireworks, refreshments, and preparing for their mid-week break, College Station, Texas was celebrating its own independence day: because on July 1st, 2012, Texas A&M University was officially and formally inducted to the Southeastern Conference.
While the Aggies might have left the Big 12 Conference several months before, marking their true state of independence, July 1st was the day worth celebrating. For many Aggies, the entrance of A&M into the SEC marks a new period for the university. One of development and growth in both athletics and academics.
The premature independence day celebration was held outside of Kyle field, where President Loftin and Head Coach Sumlin both spoke to a crowd of several Aggies, both former and current students. Hundreds arrived to celebrate the event, the introduction of Texas A&M into the SEC. It has officially been dubbed “Aggie Independence Day.”
Several attendees showed true excitement for the event. One Aggie student, Jeff Terrell, commented on the occasion, claiming “To be able to watch our team compete in the league of the elite it’s just amazing. It’s awesome.” Another ventured so far as to say that it will be “a very new tradition for us.”
President Bowin Loftin offered equal enthusiasm. Commenting on the Aggie student body to a Fox Reporter, Loftin admitted that “It feels good to finally be home and to have it all settled. They see this as a beginning to a new era.” And a new era is certainly what the university has to look forward to.
The Southeastern Conference is arguable the most intensely competitive athletic conference in the Nation, with several schools laying claim to multiple national titles in all major sports. But being a southern, public school in nature, there is one sport that is on the minds of Aggies perhaps a little more than others: and that sport is football.
Texas A&M’s football record history with schools currently in the SEC is a losing record. With 58 wins, 78 losses, and 6 ties, the Aggies have a 0.46% victory rate which, in all reality, could be a lot worse. The large bulk of the losses, however, has been in recent years. With a crushing loss to Georgia in 2009 Independence Bowl, the back to back losses against Arkansas in Dallas Stadium, and then the disappointing loss to LSU in 2011 in the Cotton Bowl, the Aggies are off to a bad start.
However, the university’s record also shows great promise. In the 1990’s A&M beat LSU five consecutive matches. Their record with Florida and Kentucky is equal, they have yet to lose to Auburn, and the only school they haven’t defeated on the field is the University of Tennessee.
Texas A&M, however, appears unperturbed by past statistics. Instead, they find themselves eager to prove their value the “elite” conference. As President Loftin declared in his speech on the newly founded Aggie Independence Day, “We are ready here at Texas A&M to take our place. It is time truly for A&M.”
Even independent corporations associated with the university appear eager and excited for the change. One company, the ever popular Aggieland Outfitters, have already designed a new t-shirt to commemorate the event. Labeled with the famous Texas Alamo slogan, “Come and Take it”, the shirt displays a cannon and the new Aggie Independence day: 7.1.2012
Fourteen Texas A&M division one athletes sparked off the celebration by raising the fourteen flags of the Southeastern Conference. All the schools of the SEC were represented in the display, all fourteen flags: Florida, Missouri, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Louisiana State, Mississippi State, Mississippi and, last but not least, Texas A&M University.
The Aggies are internationally known for their traditional values, and upholding those long past traditions has been a lasting pride of the Texas A&M student body. However, they Aggies are also known for starting new traditions willingly. In Aggieland, it seems there can never be too much of a good thing.
So the question is, will Aggie Independence Day become a tradition long celebrated in the College Station area? Honestly, I would have to suggest that will depend on the manner of our performance over the next couple of years. For as Bart Braden (a Texas Aggie former student) said, reminding us that not all Aggies are as thrilled to be leaving their old conference, “I’m not convinced that this is going to be a good thing.”
Yet, despite the reserves of few, excitement levels were high at Kyle Field on July 1st. Just three days before the National Independence Day, the Aggies clearly announced their enthusiasm for entering the Southeastern Conference.
CENTURY 21 Beal, Inc.