Posted March 14th, 2007 by Brian
Filed under: Basketball

Texas A&M‘s basketball program has reached unseen heights this season and as a #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament is showing up in a lot of expert’s Final Four picks. But right before the tournament games begin former Aggie Antoine Wright reveals some shady academic practices going on at the university.

On a special episode of HBO’s Costas Now last night focusing on college athletes and academics, Wright revealed that athletes at Texas A&M athletes are steered into agricultural majors and states that he got more of an education in high school. In some ag classes there would be a “quarterback, [Wright], a running back and a farmer.” Even more damning, he states that athletes were provided with cheat sheets including copies of old exams.

Video of Wright on Costas Now is below:

When the Big 12 announced their Academic All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball Team a couple of week’s ago two Aggie starters, Dominique Kirk and Acie Law, made the second team. Their major? Ag leadership & development. Big man Antanas Kavaliauskas should be able to go home to Lithuania and raise some awesome goats as an agricultural development major.

The football team is probably worse. Reggie McNeal? Agricultural development major. Red Bryant, Kerry Franks, and Courtney Lewis? Ag leadership & development. Our good friend Kellen Heard? He’s an agricultural and life sciences major.

For the sake of the 98% of these kids who won’t make it to the pros, I sure hope they can raise a mean chicken.

Update: Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne’s response to Wright’s allegations? Don’t worry, we’re adding more easy majors that athletes will be able to choose from.

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67 Comments

  1. reply to  #1

    chris

    Im not sure if this is really a breaking news story. 1) I will bet that over 98% of all Ncca student-athletes have cheated at some point. 2) It’s not cheating if you dont get caught.
    3) Who hasnt cheated at some point in their lives?

  2. reply to  #2

    Brian

    On an individual basis of course it’s not news, but it is news for an entire athletic department at a major university to (allegedly) be encouraging their athletes not to get an education. According to Wright, Texas A&M is doing everything they can to make sure their athletes don’t get anything out of college.

  3. reply to  #3

    J Grace

    Old news. Goes on at every major university. Is a PE major really that much better than an Ag Development major? MOST athletes in college are looking for the easiest classiest they can get their hands on. To me, that is on the kid and not the school. You get out of your education what you want. That can be said of all students, not just student athletes.

  4. reply to  #4

    Beertruck

    You’re making a big mistake by assuming that Ag classes are cakewalks. I was an Ag Comunications major at Illinois and grew up in Chicago. It meant I had to work twice as hard to learn shit I didn’t really care about and knew I would never use in my career choice. Try staying interested in Veterinary Sciences/Agronomy/Horticulture for a full semester and competing against a surprisingly well-educated “farmboy” that is pursuing a career as a veterinarian. Not as easy as it sounds.

  5. reply to  #5

    Brian

    I’m not the one who implied they were a cakewalk, Wright did.

  6. reply to  #6

    J Gracey

    The implied cheating by getting “old exams” is comical also. Many frats and sororites and other organizations have test banks of old exams that they have access to. It’s common practice from my experience. Some profs even have them for sale in copy centers or the like.

  7. reply to  #7

    Janalee

    I’m slightly offended by this whole post. As someone who is finishing a degree in Agribusiness I have to say yes there are some bullshit courses but I would say it’s not that much different than taking a liberal arts degree. Besides which if any of these boys actually graduate (cheating or not) I think you’d be suprised how employable they actually are.

    Not everyone who takes an Ag program is going to be a farmer.

  8. reply to  #8

    Brian

    Don’t shoot the messenger, a former Aggie is the one who is calling you out not me. If you’re not going to be a farmer than why on earth would you be in Agribusiness? Why not be a real business major? What in the world is ag leadership?

  9. reply to  #9

    Danny

    Regardless of how often it happens and where, it’s just ridiculous. When Selvin Young, Ramonce, and other players are forced to take spring classes at other schools because they couldn’t keep their grades up, you know were not spoon feeding our players.

    I can’t believe some of you who are defending atm… Do you really think if we were in their shoes, they would just shrug it off? Hell no they wouldn’t, it would be rubbed in our faces and never let go.

    ATM, it’s not like any other school… How often do you hear it? From the outside, you wouldn’t understand. From the inside, you can’t explain it. Hmmm, I say it definately applies to many situations in collie station…

  10. reply to  #10

    bob

    so whats Kevin Durant’s Major? and will he get a degree/education from UT?

  11. reply to  #11

    Brian

    Man Aggies sure can try to defend anything. I’m actually surprised you’re not throwing Wright under the bus and claiming it was all him now that he’s gone (see: Reggie McNeal.) Nice to try to make this a conversation about UT when one of your own admitted wrongdoing.

    Durant and other one-and-done guys are a completely different story. Like pretty much all freshman (athletes and non-athletes) he probably hasn’t declared a major.

  12. reply to  #12

    Ken Myers

    This isn’t news. Colleges have been doing this since Day 1. Texas A & M will get pissed off that this is being reported for everyone to ridicule them.

  13. reply to  #13

    ScottBruin

    Both of these things are common practice. I attend UCLA, which has much stricter athletics admissions req’ts than other Div. I schools, and everyone on the basketball team is a history or sociology major. Those are regarded as easy majors here, and I’m sure the coaches steer players toward them unless they’re very bright and can manage their time very well. As for test banks, there are school-sponsored ones at UCLA. If Professors don’t change their tests then they should collect them (many do).

  14. reply to  #14

    Brian

    Sociology vs. ag leadership Scott. Which do you think is easier and which do you think might actually be more useful?

  15. reply to  #15

    BrianJ

    If student-athletes don’t take advantage of the free education they are given, they will regret it later. All schools give you the choice of what you want your major to be. If they choose the easy street.. Well, it’s their lives. I certainly don’t want to see my college encouraging students to get the least possible (and practical) knowledge out of their academic careers, though. As for test banks, they may be available to anyone with a credit card but I don’t want to see my university passing them out to student-athletes just to ease the burden of actually needing to study. How much study time does it take to pass “Agriculture Photography,” (Actual A&M course) anyway?

  16. reply to  #16

    Kyle

    I thought the name of this site was Bevo Sports?

  17. reply to  #17

    Jason

    Why do t-sips have to be such retards? Student athletes are usuallly the dumbest of the bunch and are usually placed in degree programs that are practically worthless (i’m an engr major, i think all liberal arts degrees are worthless). A sociology degree is as good as an ag leadership degree and an ag leadership degree can get a job in Texas….like it or not.

  18. reply to  #18

    Matt

    Kyle, you can read. Congratulations.

  19. reply to  #19

    Michael

    What you all are fogetting is that Wright was never all out liked by his teammates. He was simply enrolled at Texas A&M to build his resume at a basketball player. He was just in long enough to become a 1st round draft pick. Of course he didn’t care about his academics, and I’m sure when the coaches were “pushing him into the easy classes” he was devastated about him losing out on his education. The simple fact is that I am sure there are many athletes easing their way through a college education and who knows what will happen to them when college is over. But if this ACTUALLY surprises you then u are living in a nieve world and you should really open your eyes. I promise you A&M is not the only school to have such instances occur.

  20. reply to  #20

    Kyle

    Thanks Matt. It’s because I went to UT and A&M. They both learned me good. But that doesn’t change my point, and you know it.

  21. reply to  #21

    Brian

    No Kyle, you don’t have a point. I found cool video that makes your school look bad so I posted it, that’s exactly what a UT website should do.

    And by the way, remember me mentioning that you Aggies would throw Wright under the bus? Just check out Michael’s comment at #19.

  22. reply to  #22

    Jason

    Sad story. I don’t think A&M has a general studies major. I think that’s what the DMN article is about. That has to be more useful than ag development.

  23. reply to  #23

    herb cohen

    I expected this out of a t.u. publication as I’m sure none of this happens there. I believe the program used in Austin is sports management and others of the same. I’m sure thats why Ricky Williams made such a smart choice in an agent and such a great contract.
    I know many longhorn atheletes and how they were given easy courses and then assisted with work, answers and passing grades. So get real at least the A&M players should be able to feed themselves. I still havent seen a graduate of the sports management from t.u. become an agent.

  24. reply to  #24

    BrianJ

    Herb, sports management doesn’t teach you how to be an agent. It teaches you how to manage professional, educational, and recreational sports leagues. Classes include: sports law, management of health and sport promotion programs, revenue and budgeting in sports, media and public relations in sports, and the sociological aspects of sport and physical activity. Just FYI, so you have a basis for comparison.

  25. reply to  #25

    JW

    Ummm….Last time I checked Texas A & M was an Agricultural and Manufacturing University. There might be some connection there with those choices in majors.

  26. reply to  #26

    Kevin

    Ummmm… JW… check again… that would be Agricultural and Mechanical University…surely, you didn’t graduate from there without learning the name. Then again… we are talkin’ Aggies.

  27. reply to  #27

    thomas

    everyone one knows that this kind of stuff hapens everywhere, wright also mentioned that everyone on the basketball team thought they were going to the nba. at the end student-athletes have the choice of what they do with there education and only about 1% or 2% will get to be a professional athlete

  28. reply to  #28

    Michelle Pavelock

    I am an agricultural graduate. I am insulted by this articles reference to agriculture as an insignificant major. If farming isn’t important, stop eating.

  29. reply to  #29

    BrianJ

    I’m glad that there are farmers, really. But, should there really be a major and program devoted to it at it a major state university? It seems more like a vocational program of study to me. The subject of conversation is not the importance of agricultural majors, but whether or not student-athletes should be purposefully directed by their university into that course of study simply because the classes are easier to pass. NONE of those kids are going to be farmers… Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  30. reply to  #30

    Michelle Pavelock

    BrianJ, yes it is a valuable major. Genetics, poultry science, animal science, etc. are all major fields of study. We also have agricultural communications, agricultural education, and agricultural leadership in place to help take this research information and disseminate it to the public. These are the most valuable majors because it is about sustaining life. How can you call it vocational? Eating and surviving are far more valuable than any other thing we could study on earth. Remember that next time you consider farming “vocational”. Obviously we need more ag leadership majors to educate you about the importance of this issue.

  31. reply to  #31

    Brian

    Agricultural communications, is that like Dr. Doolittle? :-)

  32. reply to  #32

    BrianJ

    This is just getting funny! Like I said, thank God for farmers! I’m as happy as the next person that I can cruise down to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning and get some fresh lettuce. With that being said, is it really something you have to go to school for? The definition of vocational education is “training that prepares learners for careers or professions that are traditionally non-academic and directly related to a trade, occupation or ‘vocation’ in which the learner participates.” Sorry Michelle, but that sounds a whole lot like a farmer to me.

  33. reply to  #33

    Jim

    Hey guys, you can talk all the crap you want. Obviously you take the food you eat for granted. If it weren’t for people like us to prepare and send food to the grocery stores for you to buy, then you would starve. Literally. People have drifted away from producing their own food to living strictly from what the buy from the store. What’s even worse, many of you do not know where that food comes from. You think that HEB or Kroger has some magic machine in the back that produces all this. No. The Ag industry is a multi million dollar industry. In it, there are thousands of people involved. Where people like me, who have an Ag leadership degree from A&M, come into play are in the managerial division and up. I’m an HR manager for Cargill Meat Solutions for example. I make an awesome salary and receive full benefits. Hell, I’m living a pretty good life. Not everyone who graduates from A&M is going to be a “farmer” and literally work on a farm bailing hay or whatever. I’m not saying that Ag degrees are the toughest degrees to earn. I’m saying that they’re not a joke and they play a vital role for the survival for you and everyone else in the world.

    To address what Mr.Wright said: If that is how it was when he came to A&M, so be it. If he feels that he got cheated out of an education then he should quit the NBA and go back to college somewhere else. He may have gotten a cake walk at A&M, but for students like me, we had to work hard to earn our grades.

  34. reply to  #34

    rowdy

    What the hell is he thinking? i bet he didnt graduate from a&m or he wouldnt be doin this interview. He just said fuck a&m. he better hope his nba career last and he dont have to go back to school.

  35. reply to  #35

    Nate Thomas

    I’m an innocent bystander that loves sports, and have enjoyed reading posts from fanatics like you guys from time to time.

    Tell me one thing, though. Doesn’t any of these schools teach English any more? The grammatical errors, and improper usage is atrocious on these posts.

    I’m sure in the haste to post a comment, you guys are tying fast and furious, but at least learn to spell!

  36. reply to  #36

    Nate Thomas

    Oops…make that “typing”…Now I can appreciate your errors!

  37. reply to  #37

    b.c.

    what the hell do you know about this? Like texas hasn’t had anyone do anything wrong. I seem to remember quite a few occasions in which members of the football team have been in trouble with the law. Usually right before big games and it seems to me like they weren’t punished at all??? You can’t tell me that most of the kids that go to schools on scholarship are bright enough to spell their own names! Oh yeah but I forgot that all texas players are academic all americans!

  38. reply to  #38

    Brian

    @BC

    Dude, for the LAST FREAKING TIME. Wright was the one calling out the education offered by Texas A&M, not me.

  39. reply to  #39

    Dave

    Actions of many athletic departments are deplorable, and far too many schools use their athletes with their primary goal being the sale of tickets and the hanging of banners.

    I’m glad that my school (UVa) for one does not stoop to this abuse of young lives. Our student athletes actually leave The University with an education and a meaningful diploma which we prize above any trophy.

    Unfortunately some have no qualms selling their integrity and their athletes’ futures away for something, ultimately, as ineffectual as a trophy.

    I’m tired of hearing the excuse that, “every other school does it.” That is one of the most shameful cop-outs I’ve ever heard and one that comes no closer to correcting the situation.

    I’m just glad Wright has the rectitude to come forward and expose athletic directors along with fan bases for that to which they turn a blind eye.

  40. reply to  #40

    Freddy

    Dave,

    Get over yourself. How do you know that your(and my) school doesn’t do the same? I have met plenty of athletes at our institution that could barely spell their name. This happens EVERYWHERE. People with your attitude are the reason most folks think we are insufferable pri$ks.

  41. reply to  #41

    Enrique

    Every university has a department to place a student-athlete who is much more athlete than student. At Texas A&M, the college of agriculture is the refuge for other students who couldn’t hack engineering, business and liberal arts. The college of ag will keep you on probation for 2 or 3 semesters before asking you to leave Texas A&M.

    Also, every major organization keeps a file of old exams at Texas A&M. The fraternities and sororities have them. The Corps of Cadets has the most extensive exam bank at Texas A&M. I am sure the Athletic Department keeps something.

    Last word. If you want an education, you must assert yourself.

    I hope Wright makes it in the NBA.

  42. reply to  #42

    Dave

    Freddy,

    While some student athletes have a slightly easier path at all universities is not up for debate, the high percentage graduation rates and numbers of athletes on academic honor lists speaks to a different educational atmosphere. Now, while UVa athletes actually achieve diplomas, they oft times do so in majors not considered cake-walks.

    In addition, Littlepage has also ensured, along with coaches, that our athletes stay out of trouble which unfortunately is not a concern at many other schools.

    My point is this, schools need to put the future of the athlete first and foremost and I’m ecstatic that Wright stepped forward with the same message.

  43. reply to  #43

    Brian

    Ahmad Brooks was a model citizen and student while at UVa right Dave?

  44. reply to  #44

    Dave

    Brian,

    Actually he provides the perfect example of the way in which UVa handles those situations. Ahmad Brooks committed to UVa coming out of high school yet his grades were not on par with what UVa requires, so rather then him start the following year he went to prep school to show he could cut it academically.

    Following the incident where he was riding in a car in which marijuana was discovered, Brooks pleaded no contest and was given one more chance the following year. When he subsequently failed a drug test he was kicked off the team.

    Brooks was one of the best linebackers to play for us in the last decade and was a player on which our defense rested. When he left Kai Parham (another important LB) left as well due to the uncertain future of our program.

    In essence Groh decided not to allow the temptation of a great season deter him from doing what was right.

    So in answer to your question, No. Ahmad Brooks was not the model “citizen and student” at The University, and he was kicked off the team for that reason.

  45. reply to  #45

    brian

    what are you guys fighting for? they will find out what happend

  46. reply to  #46

    Matt

    How long is it going to take for this to happen in Kentucky?

  47. reply to  #47

    JOE

    Enjoy University of Kentucky!

  48. reply to  #48

    rick

    what the heck did Vince Young major in @ Teja$

  49. reply to  #49

    Brian

    @rick: It was something like “early childhood development”… in other words helping out kids. A much more useful major for these guys than ag stuff, whether you end up in the pros or not. Nice try though.

  50. reply to  #50

    Kathy

    While reading the story and some of the posts, I began to realize that the ag-related majors discussed are not well known nationally and therefore are not considered a respectable degree.

    The agricultural college offers courses that rival any other colleges, including the business schools, when it come to the quality of leadership in the classrooms.

    Furthermore, if this is breaking new for Texas students, apparently they don’t actually look at their own atheletes. Personally, I would like to know what Vince Young, or Ricky Williams, majored in and would love a confirmed statement from their AD that atheletes do not receive special consideration in their classes. Because let’s face it, kids in classrooms don’t recruit for next year, winners on the field do.

    Give me a break if this story “shocked” anyone and could not be directed toward any other big conference school with other “easy” majors substituted!

  51. reply to  #51

    Brian

    Apparently your ag classes didn’t help your reading comprehension Kathy, the post above yours tells you what Vince majored in. And for the 1000th time, it was an Aggie who was calling the classes easy and pointless.

    It’s not all about difficulty level, it’s about the usefulness of the major for these kids future careers.

  52. reply to  #52

    K.R.

    I was just tuned in to this conversation by a friend — non-Aggie and non-Longhorn. Jim and Kathy make a good point. Most people are completely uneducated about the food and agricultural system that gets food to their table and cotton to the Levi’s folks so they can make your jeans. (Yes, it is a complicated “system”…not just throwing a seed in the ground and praying for rain.) So Brian and BrianJ, next time you’re eating a nice juicy steak (which, unfortunately Bevo wouldn’t have the carcass merits for…), be thankful that Ag majors around the world have worked to eradicate brucellosis and other nasty diseases from cattle. And be thankful that Ag majors and policymakers around the world are working to minimize your likelihood of contracting CJD (Mad Cow Disease). And be thankful that the land grant university system has been successful at increasing the efficiency of food production to the point that U.S. citizens pay the lowest percentage of their income for food as compared to any other country in the world. And be thankful that Ag majors from land grant universities have increased the productivity of our land and our resources to the point that we don’t need your tail end on a tractor (not that you would know what to do with or that any farmer worth his salt would let you drive it) so that you can get your MBA so that can afford that nice juicy steak brought to you by a “vocational” farmer….and the whole food system that backs him or her up! Perhaps you should just say “thanks” and leave it at that.

  53. reply to  #53

    david

    I am sitting here looking at my photograph of Darrell Royal from the glory days of the 1960s’s and trying to reflect.

    Here is the way I read this whole situation.

    Antoine Wright says, “those grapes were sour, anyway.”

    Pot (Longhonn website) calls the (Aggie)Kettle black.

    Get over it! There wasn’t any cheating.

    Shame on Mr. Wright for taking full advantage of his scholarship opportunities.

    Let’s fix this whole situation. Make athletes apply to a univiersity as a “student” first. IF THE UNIVERSITY ACCEPTS THEM, THEN OFFER THEM A SCHOLARSHIPE.

  54. reply to  #54

    david

    I am sitting here looking at my photograph of Darrell Royal from the glory days of the 1960s’s and trying to reflect.

    Here is the way I read this whole situation.

    Antoine Wright says, “those grapes were sour, anyway.”

    Pot (Longhonn website) calls the (Aggie)Kettle black.

    Get over it! There wasn’t any cheating.

    Shame on Mr. Wright for NOT taking full advantage of his scholarship opportunities.

    Let’s fix this whole situation. Make athletes apply to a univiersity as a “student” first. IF THE UNIVERSITY ACCEPTS THEM, THEN OFFER THEM A SCHOLARSHIP.

    ps: i should have reviewed the prior post before submitting

  55. reply to  #55

    AgMajor

    What’s wrong with an Ag major? My husband has a degree in Ag education and now is a Sr. VP Computer guy. I’d rather sit in a class with down home ag majors than just about anyone else. Again, how many of us really used what we learned in college for our now current jobs. Sports Illustrated said Greg Oden was taking History of Rock and Roll and( I think) Sociology. Everyone needs to be looking at Ohio State, not Texas A & M. Heck, I got copies of old tests from a file at my sorority house. Everyone puts their old tests in it so everyone else can use them to STUDY, not cheat. So, relax everyone…..it’s okay.

  56. reply to  #56

    BMac

    college classes are not for everybody. Bob Costas did not even go to college

  57. reply to  #57

    Brian

    Hate to break it to you AgMajor but Intro to Sociology (or Psychology) are required courses at most universities. And History of Rock and Roll is also an elective many schools have and any student can take. Are you trying to claim you took no electives as a freshman in college?

  58. reply to  #58

    chris

    If there should be any mandatory course taught at A&M, it should be Bonfire Construction 101.

  59. reply to  #59

    K.R.

    I have to say….Chris, you are a classy guy…..NOT. Perhaps t.u. should add a course in compassion and ethics. That’s a pretty cheap shot, no matter what your loyalties.

  60. reply to  #60

    chris

    FYI K.R., my best friend was in the core of cadets the year the bonfire fell. Fortunately, he was not injured, but many of his friends were. He said that it was supposed to be constructed like a “birthday cake”, a large base with smaller subsections stacked on. The guy in charge allowed the structure to get larger as it got higher making it top heavy. I stand by my statement. “Bonfire construction 101″ would have been a great class that year. Go preach compassion and ethics to the parents that lost children in that disaster because the head engineer didnt have any freakin common sense.

  61. reply to  #61

    N.J.

    yo who ever is talkin bad about him dont even start he went to my high school and hes sick and a good guy

  62. reply to  #62

    Andrew

    I am an engineering major and have degrees from A&M and UT.

    To say that Agriculture programs are a joke and are useless is not totally true. There are very very very easy majors within the Ag School at A&M, and just like every other school (including UT), the athletes take advantage of them.

    However, to say that the Ag Program as a whole is useless is ridiculous. There is a lot of advanced research going on there and there are some legit majors. A&M was one of the first schools around to do animal cloning. That is pretty advanced, and it was done by the Ag School.

    By the way, Wright even stated after the interview that they cut sections out and put pieces together to make things sound worse than it really was. You can even see on one part of the video that it was doctored. It was a 2 hour interview and they only showed a small part of it.

  63. reply to  #63

    TampaBay

    Brian,

    Since you are ignorant to assume that agriculture applies only to “farming” and that it’s a “vocation” not worthy of thorough study and research / development are you aware that some of the majors within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences include Genetics and BioChemistry?

    If i were to give you some organic chemistry sets would you be able to resolve them? Can you differentiate between some varying genetic equations and perhaps breakdown some metabolic structures of varying hybrids?

    You’re probably a liberal arts major that sells billboard space at truck stops. Yes there are some easy majors that athletes are filtered towards, but don’t flex your muscles over your worthless history degree.

  64. reply to  #64

    chris

    TampaBay,

    I cant differentiate between varying genetic equations or breakdown metabolic structures of varying hybrids either TampaBay. I’ll tell what I can do though, I can take a girl’s bra off. Can you do that?

  65. reply to  #65

    rick

    agricultural and life sciences major

    So whats wrong with these majors?

    It is Texas A & M = Aricultural and Mechanical

    So what are they suposed to major in Political Science?

  66. reply to  #66

    Unbiased

    @Brian:

    You really think that getting an Ag degree means you have to work on a farm? I’m sure the Congra Execs, the Food Chain execs, the Food prep execs, those who manage the aquifer in Texas and food transport managers would agree that they’d rather hire someone into the business side with experience in the field over a measly generic business degree you can get from anywhere. You seem to be speaking on something that you don’t actually have any knowledge on.

  67. [...] One of our greatest basketball players, Antoine Wright, waxes eloquently with Bob Costas about his A&M educational experience with football players in classes about [...]

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