The Florida Gators may be coming to College Station for Texas A&M's first Southeastern Conference game Saturday, but a billboard in Florida got Aggies riled up a few days early.
As reported by GatorZone.com, a maroon and white billboard went up Tuesday morning in the home city of the University of Florida.
"Howdy Gainesville: You've been annexed by Aggie Nation," it read. "The Best Academics & Cleanest Program in the SEC. WHOOP! Real Football. Real Tradition."
“Funny...a little bit provocative...I like it!,” said Robert Bordovsky, a Texas A&M student.
“Its kind of forward, I don't really know if that's the nicest thing to put on someone else's home turf,” said Ashley Briggs, another A&M student.
The billboard went up early Tuesday morning...and within a few hours, it was making national headlines.
University officials were quick to say that Texas A&M had no connection to the billboard.
By Tuesday afternoon, the billboard's owner, Clear Channel, took the sign down after university officials raised issues over A&M copyrights.
“We own the term Aggie in the state of Texas. So we had the term Aggie, also the phrase Whoop which we use here....and then the context of conference discussion. Then also the use of the maroon in connection with those terms. There are actually a couple recent cases that actually cite a university's color as being a protected mark of the institution,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
It turns out Spike Marketing, a Houston-based marketing agency, bought the ad for a client listed as Aggie Nation.
Spike Marketing had no comment when asked about the Florida billboard. Employees said their client, Aggie Nation, also had no comment.
“We have some suspicions that it wasn't an Aggie who placed the board. We refer to ourselves as the Aggie network, the Aggie family or even The 12th Man. But aggie nation is not a term that we use often,” said Cook.
A&M University officials say they want to enter the SEC conference with excitement and respect. That's why they're planning to handle this "trademark issue" aggressively.