Friday, September 28, 2007

Fran's Little Secret is Out

As if the natives weren't restless enough in College Station, an article in today's San Antonio Express-News reveals that Texas A&M Coach Dennis Franchione was secretly selling insider news to those willing to pony up at least $1200.

Subscribers were asked to sign a confidentiality agreement so that no one would know about the secret emails Franchione was sending to the boosters. It looks like Aggies are now intentionally giving up this information to further undermine Coach Fran.

Must've been a 2%er, right? Only a true Aggie would suffer bamboos under the fingernail for the team, right?

Big 12 Football: Franchione stops selling A&M info

Brent Zwerneman
San Antonio Express-News

COLLEGE STATION — Texas A&M football coach Dennis Franchione said Thursday he has discontinued a secret e-mail newsletter sent to select boosters willing to pay $1,200 per year for team information that Franchione routinely has withheld from the public.

"I knew it was probably going to be controversial," Franchione said. "I certainly didn't mean for it to be that. When I knew you guys were starting to ask around a bit, I thought, 'Maybe we shouldn't do this.'"

The Express-News recently began inquiring about the newsletter operation after obtaining a copy through a third-party source. After being told of the newsletter, A&M athletic director Bill Byrne met with Franchione to express his concerns.

Byrne did not ask Franchione to stop the newsletter, A&M sources said, but strongly suggested that it would be the prudent thing to do. An A&M spokesman said Byrne was unavailable for comment.

In the newsletter, called "VIP Connection," Franchione discussed player injuries in detail and offered sometimes-critical assessments of his players.

The newsletter, it was learned, has been distributed the past three years to about a dozen subscribers, each of whom had to sign a letter of confidentiality to receive the newsletter.

Subscription proceeds, Franchione said, were used to underwrite his personal Web site,

Since taking the A&M job after the 2002 season, Franchione has routinely sidestepped media questions about injuries — except those of a season-ending nature — often with the comment that it is not "our policy" to discuss them.

Yet, Franchione — through his personal assistant, Mike McKenzie, who wrote each newsletter — freely offered up personnel information to elite boosters willing to pay for it.

Two days before A&M's opener against Montana State earlier this month, six players were listed in the newsletter as "unavailable for action." The newsletter included each player's name and his injury.

"A seventh player, Roger Holland, is iffy," the newsletter said. "He recovered drastically from a mile (sic) concussion carried over from Sunday, but not fully."

The newsletter also provided a candid assessment of the Aggies' receiving corps.

"Privately, Coach told me last night that Earvin (Taylor) and Pierre (Brown) are very steady but with average speed," McKenzie wrote. "Kerry (Franks) has great speed, but (is) inconsistent in receiving."

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