College Sports

February 22, 2014

TCU assistant AD resigns in wake of Texas A&M comments

TCU assistant athletic director Greg Featherston resigned “for the betterment of TCU.”

TCU assistant athletic director Greg Featherston resigned Saturday after he posted inflammatory remarks about the Texas A&M bonfire tragedy on his Facebook page.

“I have decided to resign from my position at TCU,” Featherston said in a statement. “I sincerely apologize to all those offended by the post on my personal Facebook page. For the betterment of TCU, a place I care deeply about, it is best that I move on.”

Athletic director Chris Del Conte said in the same release, “We have accepted Greg’s resignation and wish him the best.”

Featherston, 38, who worked in the compliance department for three years, posted the comment Wednesday.

He “shared a link” on the social media website that was commenting on A&M’s plans to leave 12 seats empty at Kyle Field, which is being renovated, to honor the 12 students who died in the bonfire collapse in 1999.

Texas A&M also released a statement Saturday to clarify its plans for the renovated stadium and 12th man memorial.

“The planned 12th Man seats, which will be left open in the second deck of the west stands of redeveloped Kyle Field, are a living and visible tribute to the spirit of all members of the 12th Man who have come before at Texas A&M,” the release states. “It is a symbol of the respect all students and former students have for the hard work and sacrifice that went in to making this land grant University what it is today — one of the best in the country. Kyle Field is a very special place for all Aggies and we believe this section is a very special tribute to one of our most honored traditions, the 12th Man. While some have reported this is solely related to the bonfire tragedy, that is inaccurate.”

Featherston posted a message he said he didn’t write “but could have.”

It said, in part, “If the number of students that were victims of what amounted to drunken, negligent homicide on the part of that cow college didn’t match so perfectly with the cult’s favorite number, I doubt you would have seen anything like this done.”

The message concludes: “See, this way it’s a passive tragedy that ‘happened’ rather than an active atrocity that was committed. This fits into the real aggy honor code of lying, cheating, and stealing.”

He posted an apology to Facebook on Friday afternoon after the original comments made the rounds through the Aggie community and was posted on Texas A&M fan sites.

Featherston said the remark was in bad taste and should not have been re-posted. He was not available for further comment, a TCU athletics spokesman said.

Featherston wrote: “I was on campus in Austin at the time of the tragedy, attended every vigil held on campus with UT students and A&M students who drove over from College Station. A very sad time for both institutions.”

The tragedy occurred Nov. 18, 1999, when students were working on the bonfire, a mammoth stack of wood that was to be ignited Thanksgiving night before A&M’s game against the University of Texas. The stack of wood collapsed at 2:42 a.m., killing 12 students, including two from Tarrant County: Jerry Don Self of Arlington and Chad Powell of Keller. An additional 27 students were injured.

“It was not my intention to disrespect the fallen students or minimize the magnitude of the disaster,” Featherston concluded in his apology. “I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment with regard to the re-post.”

TCU’s administration also condemned the post in a statement released Friday.

“Comments made by TCU employees on their personal social media accounts do not represent the university,” the statement said. “Greg has apologized for this post on his personal Facebook page. We expect our employees to behave in an appropriate manner. This behavior clearly does not live up to our standards.”

Del Conte said he “personally apologizes to anyone who may have been hurt or offended by these comments. They don’t reflect TCU or our athletic program.”

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