Texas A&M Billboard Near Univ. Of Florida Campus Removed By Clear Channel
A billboard in Gainesville, Fla., that "seemed to insult" the Univ. of Florida on behalf of Texas A&M Univ. has "been taken down, but the mystery of who paid for it remains," according to Nathan Crabbe of the GAINESVILLE SUN. The billboard said Gainesville has been “annexed by the Aggie Nation,” and read in part, “The Best Academics & Cleanest Program in the SEC. WHOOP!” Texas A&M officials said that they "didn’t authorize the sign." After sending a cease-and-desist letter alleging trademark infringement yesterday, billboard owner Clear Channel "replaced the billboard with a message advertising the company." Clear Channel VP/Marketing & Communications Jim Cullinan said, "To protect any trademark we’ll take it down, and if they resolve it, we’re happy to put it back up.” A&M VP/Marketing & Communications Jason Cook said the billboard is “not in line with how we have handled our transition to the SEC.” Cullinan said that a Houston media company "representing a group called Aggie Nation bought the billboard." But Cook said that the university "has a 'strong suspicion' that it was not placed there by anyone affiliated with Texas A&M or its supporters." A&M on Saturday plays its first SEC football game, hosting UF (GAINESVILLE SUN, 9/5). The billboard was located "about four-and-a-half miles away from Florida's campus" (ESPN.com, 9/4). A&M fans earlier this summer placed a billboard in Austin, the home of the Univ. of Texas, "declaring the area 'SEC Country'" (FLORIDA TODAY, 9/5).