We get that Texas A&M feels indebted to Johnny Manziel, but this is a little over the top.
During an update on the progress of the $450 million stadium expansion that the Aggies have embarked on, Texas A&M regent Jim Schwertner announced that hoped Kyle Field would be renamed "Kyle Field: The House that Johnny Built."
“Think about this -- the last time we had a Heisman Trophy winner was John Kimbrough," Swertner explained at the press conference, before being corrected that the Aggies last (and only) Heisman winner before Manziel was John David Crow in 1957.
Okay Jim, couple of things here:
1. For a school that prides itself so much on the sanctity of traditions, don't you think it's a little bit shortsighted to suggest that Kyle Field's greatness -- and make no mistake, it's one of the best football venues in the country -- can solely be attributed to a player who only stayed at the school for two seasons, and just last June tweeted that he "can't wait to leave College Station"? Manziel may be the most decorated player in school history in terms of individual awards, but naming the field "The House That Johnny Built" denigrates what previous Aggie players and teams have accomplished.
2. "Kyle Field: The House That Johnny Built" sounds like the name of a straight-to-DVD movie sequel.
3. Perhaps it would be more appropriate, just in terms of accuracy, to rename the famous stadium "Kyle Field: The House That Student Fees Built". After all, Schwertner was a member of the board of regents last May when they agreed to raise student fees in order to put $75 million towards the project. While Manziel no doubt might have coaxed extra money out of donors with his stellar play, he won't be required to pay an extra $2.42 per semester credit hour and $11.48 per home game in order to assist in the construction of the field -- that burden is only on current students.
The disconnect between the regent and the fan base -- 90% of respondents to a poll on the Houston Chronicle's website were against changing the name -- is staggering, but probably expected. It's beyond doubt that Schwertner ran this idea by other colleagues before announcing it at this press conference. How did not a single one of them tell him that this was a terrible proposal?
UPDATE: According to the good folks at Good Bull Hunting, JMAN2 Enterprises, LLC, the company formed by Manziel and his family to protect his "Johnny Football" nickname, has a pending trademark for "The House That Johnny Built". The company filed the trademark on January 29, 2014. Given that this is the only full multi-word phrase that JMAN2 has filed a trademark for (it should be noted that a friend of Manziel's filed a trademark for the same phrase in December), Schwertner's desire to add it into the stadium's name can only be described as suspicious.
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