TexAgs Thread with Posts in Question
Disciplinary action has been taken after senior member of the Aggie Athletics office admitted to making disparaging comments about Texas A&M's president on a popular website.
Senior Associate Athletics Director and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Toole posted on TexAgs.com over the summer that A&M President R. Bowen Loftin was a "putz" and a "hopelessly underqualified puppet" under the user name "UtayAg."
Another TexAgs user named "iPanic" says he did a search of the "UtayAg" user name and discovered that at one point, the user had revealed himself as Aggie Athletics' CFO.
Tuesday, in a premium section of the site, "UtayAg" admitted he was, in fact, Toole.
"While I thought I was posting my own private opinion as a fan and a donor anonomously [sic], it appears that was not the case," Toole wrote. "Although I had forgotten about the identification a year and a half ago, I had done it and I know it didn't take long for someone to run and dig it up."
Toole added, "I do of course fear that I will not long be employed. There is freedom of speech, but not freedom from consequences."
In a statement late Tuesday afternoon, Director of Athletics Bill Byrne announced he had taken undisclosed disciplinary action against Toole.
"It is imperative to have respect for those we work with, and especially the leader of our University," Byrne said. "Under no circumstances should derogatory names be used when speaking about anyone within the University community. The matter will be handled internally."
Toole also issued a brief statement through the athletics department, which read, “I apologize for my conduct on an internet message board. I know better and it was a very serious lapse in my judgment.”
The derogatory comments came on June 28 in a thread about the naming of Jay Kimbrough as Interim Chancellor of the Texas A&M System. One user stated that the position was a glorified fundraiser, and that a competent president was all the university needed.
"UtayAg" replied to the user, "if A&M had a competent President I would be less worried as well. But it doesn't. It has a hopelessly underqualified puppet as President."
After the first user stated people have been quick to jump on bandwagons without thinking things through, "UtayAg" responded, "There has been nothing quick about it. I don't give a crap if the idiot does the dougie or the bernie or not. Be a frigging President or clear out. This is Texas A&M, not Sam Houston State."
When a third user asked "UtayAg" to back off of Loftin, he responded, "Absolutely not. Guy is a putz. Why would you feel differently?"
According to records posted to The Texas Tribune, Toole has been CFO since 2009, and makes $200,000 annually.
"I think I have done a good job," Toole wrote on TexAgs Tuesday. "Since I have been here we have run a surplus every year, we have a budget that is real and we stick to it. I have been able to build a reserve for maintenance, etc. My personal views don't have an effect on my work. Like I said, I was speaking as a fan and a donor, and not as an AD employee. Wish it hadn't happened so to avoid it yourselves, don't mix beer and typing."
A&M spokesperson Jason Cook released the following statement to News 3 and other media outlets Tuesday afternoon: "President Loftin is aware of the posts and discussed the situation with Athletic Director Bill Byrne this afternoon. At this point, we are handling this situation as a personnel matter, and we will decline to comment further, in accordance with our standard practice."
Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle first reported this story.