Maroon Out game unites 12th Man
T-shirts raise money for class gifts, Elephant Walk, other traditions
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 23:10
What started as a simple idea to unite the student section has evolved into a gargantuan effort and tradition that brings the 12th Man together.
Created in 1998, Maroon Out started when Kyle Valentine, a former class officer, had an idea to unify the 12th Man for that year’s big game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Today, around 40,000 Maroon Out T-shirts are sold every year. Behind the scenes of the entire operation is Class Councils, which organizes everything from the T-shirt design to the sale of the shirts.
With thousands of T-shirts sold and large profits generated, Erin Fanning, head director for Maroon Out and senior biomedical science major, said the operations compares to one of a small business — and if Maroon Out were a business, Fanning would be the CEO.
“As head director, what I do is basically oversee the entire operation,” Fanning said. “I make sure shirts get ordered, I pick the game and I help with the design of the shirt.”
Fanning and the other directors have been working since April to organize the event, which has grown to be a symbol for the 12th Man around the world.
“I’ve had people from China emailing me trying to get shirts,” Fanning said. “We have a lot of orders from the military and all over the United States.”
Fanning said the event has become a fundraiser for the University as well as a way to unite the study body. Most of the profits go toward the class gift fund and the traditions that Class Councils presents such as Elephant Walk, Junior E-Walk and Ring Dance.
“Class Councils is also in charge of doing the class gift,” Fanning said. “Part of the money goes to buying the class gift, which can range anywhere from the letters on Kyle Field, to statues, to fountains, to the A&M seal in front of where G. Rollie White used to be.”
While most students today wear maroon to home games, Scott Bower, marketing and logistics director for Maroon Out and senior accounting major, said this was not always as strong a tradition.
“Before [Maroon Out], most people didn’t really wear maroon to the games,” Bower said. “Nowadays, the majority of fans will wear maroon to the game and you’ll always hear ‘Wear maroon, wave white’ for each football game. I’m not sure that you would see and hear those things if it wasn’t for Maroon Out.”
The impacts of uniting the student body for the Maroon Out game can also be felt in the stands and on the field, Bower said.
“Maroon Out has helped transform the student body during one game each year, and I think, without a doubt, has helped us win some football games and pull off some upsets,” Bower said.
Kelsey Novosad, junior kinesiology major, said she was especially excited to be part of the 12th Man on the Maroon Out game day.
“I think that it brings us all a lot closer than we already are, especially because we are all representing one all-supportive sea of maroon,” Novosad said.
Maroon Out shirts will be sold for $8 on Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Rudder Plaza. On Saturday, T-shirts will be sold in Koldus 110 from 10:30 a.m. to kickoff.