If you follow recruiting in general and Texas A&M specifically on Twitter, you know what #WRTS stands for. If you don’t, it’s an acronym for “We Run This State,” an inference that the Aggies rule the recruiting roost in the talent-rich state of Texas.
Those connected to the football program have begun to distance themselves from that particular hashtag, and there’s a very specific reason why.
The father of 2015 A&M signee Daylon Mack, ESPN.com writes, “filed for the trademark to #WRTS with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in June” while his son was a verbal commitment to the Aggies. In fact, the photo in the upper right is of Daylon Mack and was posted to Twitter in late May (since deleted).
The same attorney who helped Johnny Manziel with his trademarks, Derek Gilliland, provided assistance to Coris Mack throughout this process. The Mack family does not yet officially own the #WRTS trademark, but, when/if they acquire it, they could benefit financially by having the mark placed on clothing apparel or other goods that are sold.
Even as the Mack trademark situation was known back in December, there have been growing message board whispers that A&M was able to secure the services of Mack by, in part, allowing his father to attempt to trademark the hashtag and, thus, potentially profit from it. A&M jumped into proactive mode Thursday, ESPN again writes, as a statement from the Aggies “rendered the mark, at least at its school, virtually useless… in an attempt to disconnect from any appearance of impropriety.” From the website’s accounting of the statement:
“Texas A&M has not had any plans — past or future — to trademark, purchase, or otherwise profit financially from #WRTS,” the school said in a statement Thursday. “Texas A&M was aware of Mr. Coris Mack’s trademark application but this trademark application had nothing to do with the recruitment of Mr. Daylon Mack as a student-athlete at Texas A&M.”
The school also said it has “disallowed licensees from using #WRTS in connection with Texas A&M trademarks, to include official logos, phrases and colors, in production of licensed goods. Texas A&M’s Office of Business Development, which oversees the university’s trademarks and licensing, is not a part of the athletics department, and is not involved in the recruitment of student-athletes.”
The AggieFBLife Twitter account, which ESPN explains “is run by a third party but connected to an athletic staff member with the Aggies,” still has the #WRTS hashtag in its profile as of this morning.
Mack had been committed to A&M before decommitting in mid-December of last year. The four-star defensive end ultimately signed with the Aggies over Texas and TCU.
This Mack situation continues an odd relationship A&M and those connected to it have with trademarks, joining the likes of the Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Johnny Football and the infamous Kenny Trill.