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Chancellor Sharp vs. Chip Brown: WHO YA GOT?

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The chancellor of one of the largest universities in the world is trading barbs with a University of Texas... blogger.

Texas Monthly

We love to rip on Chip Brown here at Good Bull Hunting. Why, he's even a weekly fixture in our TAILGATE.

The comically wrong, incorrigible college football realignment wunderkind has suddenly taken an even deeper interest in the happenings of Texas A&M. Just a few weeks ago, Chip Brown was reporting... on something called Horns Digest... that A&M Chancellor John Sharp was trying to fire Kevin Sumlin.

This week, Chip Brown unleashed a report (behind a super cool paywall) that covered all kinds of A&M rumors spanning the financing of Kyle Field to the recruitment of Kyler Murray to doubling down on the report that A&M brass wanted Sumlin out.

Chip Brown is in the business of pageviews and luring suckers into auto-renewing monthly subscriptions for content centered around rumors and drama. With no real accountability, at least one out of a hundred ridiculous rumors has to come to fruition, right?

Here's where this story gets kind of weird. Chip Brown probably does have a solid source or two in College Station. The sources could very likely be members of the Good ol' Boy club that makes A&M football's big decisions. This club is known for their egos and impatience. If you're an ornery, old rich Texan with an ego tied to Aggie football, why not start bumping your gums over a couple sarsaparillas to an eager, boot-licking Horn dying to keep his name in the college football discussion? It's like a story line ripped from Friday Night Lights involving Buddy Garrity.

Chancellor John Sharp responded to the Horns Digest report with an email to Brent Zwerneman at the Houston Chronicle that might as well be a script for confirming every loony stereotype you've heard about Texans and their football. It's replete with language such as "fairy tale on steroids", "hogwash", and "sleaziest reporter in Texas". And, of course, talk of oil prices.

Below is the full response from the Texas A&M Chancellor's Office:

"Austin-based sports blogger Chip Brown’s last attempt to report on Texas A&M football, on December 17, 2015, was apparently only the first in a series of fairy tales he intends to spin. Chancellor John Sharp made it clear to another reporter (Brent Zwerneman) that Brown’s speculation about him trying to get Kevin Sumlin fired was indeed a fairy tale. And there is no one more unethical than a reporter who has been embarrassed by being called out for misstating information who then decides to seek revenge. This new report – a fairy tale on steroids – seems to be Chip Brown’s attempt at revenge. The entire report is patently false, but here are a few of the biggest errors:

"Discussing the budget for the redevelopment of Kyle Field, which was revised in December 2014 from $450 million to $485 million, Brown says "…that I’m told actually cost $520 million because of $70 million in overruns…". This is hogwash. The project was delivered on time and on budget. Anything outside of this would have required a vote by the Board of Regents, and that was never necessary.

"Brown then says that "the biggest problem facing A&M as it pays off $350 million bonded to the university is that most of the pledges made to help finance a big chunk of the renovation costs were made back when oil was between $80 and $107 a barrel. Oil is now hovering around $35 a barrel." Fact: the initial financing plan included $125 million in pledges, which are already in hand. Any speculation about the effect of oil prices? More hogwash. Brown has his mind set on a false narrative and isn’t letting facts stand in his way.

"Brown’s new fairy story continues with lies about Chancellor Sharp’s involvement with Kyler Murray’s recruitment. Chancellor Sharp has never met Kyler Murray or his parents and has never been involved with his recruitment or the recruitment of any other student athlete. Indeed, no one has ever asked him to be involved in recruitment, and we challenge Mr. Brown to produce one student athlete Chancellor Sharp helped recruit. His unnamed "sources" have steered him way off course.

"Next on the list of falsehoods: that Chancellor Sharp was "blowing up the phones of Sumlin and Spavital starting in the middle of the Alabama game to get Kyler Murray more involved." Anyone who was in the Chancellor’s suite that day knows this is 100% not true. He was watching the game with his guests, not dialing up the coaches.

"Apparently Mr. Brown’s hate for Texas A&M and Chancellor Sharp has gotten in the way of his doing even the most basic fact-checking. At the beginning of his diatribe, he refers to Chancellor Sharp and former Governor Rick Perry as "roommates at Texas A&M." They were never roommates. Mr. Brown says he covered Governor Perry and then-Comptroller Sharp as a news reporter for the Associated Press; Chancellor Sharp says he "wouldn’t know Chip Brown from Adam’s housecat."

"We respectfully suggest that Mr. Brown should consider sticking to covering UT football and leave reporting on Texas A&M to reporters who pay closer attention to the facts and who do not have some kind of personal axe to grind with John Sharp. In the meantime, we hereby nominate "Cowchip" Brown for sleaziest reporter in Texas, with full confidence he will win hands down."

COWCHIP BROWN.

To recap:

  1. The chancellor of a massive, renowned university is responding to claims from a minor pay site that caters to a bitter historical rival.
  2. In the response, a CHANCELLOR is calling a blogger a dried piece of cow shit.
  3. Adam's house cat is not well known.
While there's a sick part of me that applauds the lunacy in all of this, John Sharp needs to chill and act like, you know, a chancellor. Chip Brown is kind of a TMZ hack at this point, but someone with deep ties to A&M is feeding him information. The leadership of A&M as it pertains to football is murky and perplexing at best and downright careless and irresponsible at worst. From the outside, it seems to be run by massive egos with deep needs for immediate gratification. Kind of reminiscent of the quarterbacks who just transferred.

It'd be easy to give Sharp a pass here if he didn't have such a history of saying emotionally-charged things pertaining to football - always relating back to the Horns as seen here and here. What's most insulting about Sharp's posturing is it isn't even funny or clever. Also, he relishes in the hatred of the Horns with zero plan for ever playing them again.

And that's what all this pomp, chest-beating, rumor mongering, and power plays are missing - an annual football game.

Buckle up for another ridiculous off season.