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Texas Tech bans T-shirt of Vick likeness hanging Texas A&M's dog mascot

10/9/2007

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech has banned the sale of a
T-shirt bearing the likeness of Michael Vick hanging the dog mascot
of rival Texas A&M.

The red and black shirts, with text that says "VICK 'EM" on
the front in an apparent reference to the Aggies' slogan "Gig
'em," was created by a Tech student who was trying to sell them
before Saturday's game in Lubbock.

The back of the shirt shows a football player wearing the No. 7
Vick jersey holding a rope with an image of the mascot Reveille at
the end of a noose. Vick, who faces up to five years in prison
after pleading guilty to a federal dogfighting charge, is suspended
indefinitely by the NFL.

Tech officials late Tuesday announced the fraternity that sold
the shirts was suspended temporarily and will face judicial review
for allegedly violating the solicitation section of the students'
code of conduct.

The school said it wouldn't allow the sale on campus of items
that are "derogatory, inflammatory, insensitive, or in such bad
taste."

No more shirts are being produced, the school said in a release.

A&M officials, in a statement, thanked Tech administrators for
"their response and action regarding this matter."

Geoffrey Candia, the creator of the shirts who is with the Theta
Chi fraternity, told The Associated Press they were taking full
responsibility. "We realize the shirts shouldn't have been
printed," he said.

He told The Battalion, A&M's newspaper, for Tuesday's editions
that the university prohibited sale of the shirts on campus through
his fraternity. He said he originally had wanted to give 50 percent
of the proceeds to an animal defense league in Lubbock "because we
knew there would be a controversy about the shirts, you know,
animal rights, stuff like that."

Candia told the newspaper about 300 had been sold. He had hoped
500 would be sold before Saturday's game.

In a posting on his Facebook site at about 4 a.m. Tuesday,
Candia wrote: "a little tshirt get aggies all worked up... its a
t-shirt people!"

The controversy comes about 2½ months after Gerald Myers, Tech's
athletic director, announced a campaign to promote good
sportsmanship across the campus and at athletic events. The words
used in the effort are honor, respect, pride and tradition.

Myers did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

"You can't make light of a situation like that," Tech media
relations spokesman Chris Cook said. "That is in poor taste and
poor judgment."

Robyn Katz, president of Tech's chapter of the Student Animal
Legal Defense Fund, said her organization "wouldn't take a dime"
from Candia.

"If he really wanted to help promote anti-animal cruelty then
he would donate time" at a no-kill shelter," she said. "He's
really doing the Tech community a disservice. There's plenty of
other ways to promote a rivalry."

Hostility between the two schools is nothing new.

In 1999, after a Tech football victory, Red Raiders fans pelted
Aggies players with batteries and taunts. Tech fans tore down the
goalposts and paraded them past the Aggies' bus.

In 2001, about 1,000 Tech celebrants tore down the goalposts,
marched them the length of the field and pushed them into the A&M
section of the stadium. Aggies threw ice and a skirmish ensued.

Then there were the tortillas. In 1992, Tech fans began tossing
them like Frisbees onto the field during games. A year later,
hundreds of tortillas -- many carrying unprintable messages -- were
thrown during an A&M game.

The rivalry is not confined to the gridiron. Controversy
followed two men's basketball games that A&M won in Lubbock.

In 1994, after a one-point, last-second decision, a jumble of
punches and pushes broke out between the exiting Aggies and angry
Tech fans. Aggie coach Tony Barone and two of his players
ultimately paid $5,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from the fight.

In January 2000, referees counted A&M's shot in the final second
to give the Aggies an 88-86 win. Then they overturned it. Then they
overturned it again, giving the victory to A&M.