COLLEGE STATION - Maybe one day Aggieland Outfitters will appear omniscient for its ability to predict conference expansion. Until then, the College Station T-shirt shop is left apologizing for adding a state to the Southeastern Conference. On a T-shirt that’s since apparently been pulled from the racks, Aggieland Outfitters (henceforth known as “AO”) included the state of North Carolina on a map meant to represent the old SEC. Texas A&M and Missouri are joining the SEC prior to this football season (giving the powerhouse conference 14 teams), and North Carolina has been mentioned as a possibility should the league expand to 16 teams in the near future.
It’s easy to poke fun at Texas A&M. Insular, hide-bound, and one of the most Conservative secular universities in America, A&M has over the course of its history often set itself up as a target for jokes, some accurate, some mean, and some pretty damned funny. You can’t live in Texas for any length of time without becoming conversant with Aggie jokes. You might not appreciate it if you went to school in College Station, but when you consider that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is an Aggie…well, you begin to understand the appeal of Aggie jokes.
At any other school in Texas, something as silly as this t-shirt gaffe would be roundly and reasonably ignored. Being that it’s A&M we’re talking about…well, let’s just say that A&M don’t get the same leeway that Baylor or UT might. No doubt the shirt was an innocent mistake, but Texas lore holds Aggies to be further down the intellectual food chain, and so any boo-boo simply confirms that in the eyes of non-Aggie Texans.
We would like to apologize for a t-shirt that has come under fire for its inaccuracies. Many members of the media, especially those connected to other schools in Texas, have insinuated that Texas A&M made these shirts, and that Texas A&M doesn’t know geography. That’s simply not true. Aggieland Outfitters designed the shirt and simply made a mistake.
That should be adequate, no? Since this is A&M, of course, those who didn’t spend four years in College Station (something to be grateful for, to be sure) will have their share of fun with it. This really isn’t much different than a lot of other places, of course. When I lived in Minnesota, we told Iowa jokes:
Q: Why is the University of Iowa have artificial turf on their football field?
A: To keep the cheerleaders from grazing.
Yeah, I know; it seemed funnier before the telling….