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Who are the puppet masters behind Texas A&M athletics?

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Recent events cast some doubt on the power structure within the Athletic Department.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

I love A&M sports.  I have since I was a student 20 years ago.  I follow just about any sort of news involving the football, basketball, and baseball teams.  And when any of the non-power 3 sports are playing for a chance at a title, I'll pull for them like I've been a season long fan.  But I'm a fan from a distance.  I don't own season tickets to any Aggie sports.  I don't contribute to the 12th Man Foundation.  I try to make it to a couple of football games each year, and maybe a basketball game or two.  But if the Aggies are on TV, I'll be tuned in and pulling for a win.

While I do my best to stay current on most Aggie sports news, I have no idea who has control over them.  And that's what concerns me.  I have an idea of some of the people involved, and yet I honestly don't have any clue as to the power structure behind our sports teams, and most alarmingly, our football program.

It would seem as though the chain of command would start with the Athletic Director.  Eric Hyman wasn't seen or heard from too much, which isn't always a bad thing *cough* Weekly Wednesdays *cough*.  But then again, so many times it felt like statements concerning our team, our schedule, our coaches, etc. would come from someone other than our AD.  And on Monday, when Hyman did speak publicly and give Coach Sumlin a vote of confidence, Hyman resigns the very next day.

So maybe the person in charge is the President of the University.  (Let me pause a minute so I can look up his name again.)  Ahh, yes.  Michael Young.  He was hired back in May of 2015.  And yet throughout the football season, I don't recall him ever making a public statement concerning our athletic programs.  And yes, I realize he is responsible for the entire University, not just sports.  But it would certainly seem like he's not the one calling the shots right now.

Next up could be the Board of Regents?  Seems like from time to time one of these Regents will comment to a newspaper or radio show about the football program.  Usually it includes a joke about the Longhorns that was ripped from a comic strip from 1974.  But a quick glance at their responsibilities doesn't indicate they should be spending any time on athletics, outside of a major decision like conference affiliation, major budgets, final contract approval, etc.

It's starting to get a little confusing, but it appears our chancellor of the A&M system serves as the CEO for the Board of Regents.  John Sharp.  Yeah, that name rings a bell for sure.  Seems like he's made a lot of comments during the football season.  Concerning scheduling, the possibility of playing Texas again, our new stadium, our coaching staff, etc.  You know, stuff you would expect to hear from the AD or President.  Maybe it falls under his bailiwick?  Let's look at his website...

"As chancellor, John Sharp serves as chief executive officer of the A&M System under the direction of the Board of Regents. The A&M System is a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies, two service units and a comprehensive health science center that educates more than 137,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research expenditures exceed $932 million and help drive the state’s economy."

If I had that much on my plate, I wouldn't try to get involved with whether or not we try to get Texas on the schedule in 2018.

And of course we should probably discuss the much more secretive society of power...the large financial donors to the 12th Man Foundation.  They're called the big cigars, the power brokers, the "sources in the program", the fellas in the suites.  Images pop in my head of guys wearing suits, cowboy boots, 10 gallon hats, and lighting cigars with $100 bills.  Well, at least they used to.  I guess they could still light those cigars with $36. They are largely nameless and faceless.  I'd bet you have some pretty large egos at work.  And they assume for the amount of money they donate, BY GOD THEY WANT TO WIN!!!!  If we don't win enough to satisfy those egos, BY GOD LET'S BLOW IT ALL UP!!!  These may be the most necessary--and dangerous--people associated with the A&M athletics program.

But for the A&M fan like myself, it's a little frustrating to say the least.  I guess I just wish I knew who the hell was pulling the strings behind the teams I love so much.