To stand as the 12th Man in one of the greatest college stadiums in the country is an amazing feeling. It’s electrifying, gratifying, and sometimes agonizing. As a student you feel more a part of the action than you may have thought possible, but the standing grounds of today’s glitzy Kyle Field are a far cry from the origins:
The tradition of the Twelfth Man was born on the second of January 1922, when an underdog Aggie team was playing Centre College, then the nation’s top ranked team. As the hard fought game wore on, and the Aggies dug deeply into their limited reserves, Coach Dana X. Bible remembered a squad man who was not in uniform. He had been up in the press box helping reporters identify players. His name was E. King Gill, and was a former football player who was only playing basketball. Gill was called from the stands, suited up, and stood ready throughout the rest of the game, which A&M finally won 22-14. When the game ended, E. King Gill was the only man left standing on the sidelines for the Aggies. Gill later said, "I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me."
And to think he somehow did it without WiFi.
With the passing of time comes progress, and upgrades aren’t free. And Aggies pay more dearly than almost everyone in the country. According to this ranking from scout, Texas A&M students pay nearly $300 for season tickets to stand ready as the 12th Man. Only Oregon students pay more (an estimated $367). But seating at Autzen is at a premium: the stadium holds fewer than 58,000. For comparison, Texas A&M packed nearly 39,000 students into the stands once in 2014.
$300 is not a paltry number, but it’s still a couple hundred bucks cheaper than the worst non-student season tickets. As long as students are paying the fees and filling the EAST stands, this delicate economic balance seems to make everyone happy. The only real danger is if the BOR sees that we’re ranked #2 behind Oregon and can’t stand playing second fiddle to some PAC-12 upstarts in their eternal quest to make Kyle Field #1 in everything. "Throw some platinum gilding on the hand dryers in the restrooms and install a J. Alexander’s on the concourse; we need to bump student prices up to $368."
Because let’s not forget: college football is just a game, except when it’s a business. You can change it readily to suit your argument. A few hundred bucks more tacked onto a long future of student loans is well worth the experience of standing as the 12th Man.
OR IS IT?