In an open letter to Auburn University administrators sent to TWER (and currently en route to media outlets across the southeast), Auburn alum Jim Magruder (’83), father of our own John Magruder, urges a by-all-means-necessary approach – including the threat of legal action – to maintaining the Walmart-less dignity of Auburn’s potential national championship.
January 4, 2011
An open letter to:
Dr. Jay Gogue ‘69, Ph.D, President, Auburn University
Jay Jacobs ‘85, Athletics Director, Auburn University
Bobby Poundstone ’95, President, Auburn Alumni Association
Dear fellow Auburn grads:
I presume that many of the letters you receive from alumni begin in the same fashion – by recounting how our families have been associated with Auburn University for many years. I will do the same, but very briefly. My family became an Auburn family not long after the school became Alabama A&M, and many of my family and extended family have graduated from Auburn. I graduated in 1983 with a degree in industrial engineering, and I am a proud Life Member of the Auburn Alumni Association. Auburn has been good to me, my family, my home state of Alabama, my employers, and my country, and a day never passes that I am not grateful for what Auburn has done for me and for so many other people. Because you are also Auburn alums, I know you feel the same way.
Unfortunately for Auburn University and its alumni, we are often compared to, even “lumped in with” a certain “institution” (taken in the broadest sense) in northwest Alabama due to our proximity to same. While Auburn’s record over the years certainly is not pristine, I can safely say that we are rank amateurs compared to “those people” when it comes to unethical and disgusting behavior.
So, you will understand that it was painful to learn that all of their sordid history was rewarded so richly when the University of Texas failed to roll back the Unwashed Nation last January in the Rose Bowl. While that was and still is difficult to bear, it was shocking to learn that upon arrival in Tuscaloosa, the “Unavursdi” promptly carted its national championship trophy down to a couple of local Walmart stores for display. [One need browse People Of Walmart only once to understand why Walmart isn’t a suitable venue for such an occasion.] The national news networks immediately picked up on the story, of course, and the (so-called) “University” of Alabama became a national laughing stock – one more time. I thought the LSU fan where I work would have to be hospitalized he laughed so hard. [The Bammers claimed that there was a contractual requirement to do the promotion… and yet they never sought a remedy…. go figure…]
The state of Alabama needs fewer black eyes – not more – and unfortunately, it will be many years before the “Walmart Trophy” debacle is forgotten. For the state’s sake, I pray that this pathetic scene is never repeated, by any school.
As to the purpose of my letter: I must ask you a question, and I assure you, I’m deadly serious.
I need to know that our University – upon earning a prestigious honor such as a national championship in football – would never stoop so low as to display the trophy at a Walmart store – or a truck stop, a Burger King, a Greyhound bus station, an outhouse, etc. Please PLEASE tell me that the state’s premier University would only display said trophy in the most appropriate and dignified way – not in front of piles of second-tier soft drinks, motor oil, and diapers. PLEASE tell me it will never ever happen.
Please tell me that if Auburn University wins the BCS national championship in the Fiesta Bowl Monday night, on Tuesday morning you will send a wealthy Auburn alum to Bentonville, Arkansas with this message:
“We understand that you paid a sum of money for the right to display Auburn University’s national championship trophy in a promotion at Walmart, and that you negotiated in good faith. However, on behalf of Auburn University, I am here today to tell you that will never happen – not today, not tomorrow, NOT EVER – and that we will reimburse you for your expenses to date. If you persist, you should know that you will have to sue us in open court, and that will take many months. I also remind you that possession is nine tenths of the law – and that even if you were to prevail in a lawsuit against the University, I can say with absolute certainty that our trophy will NEVER be displayed in such a fashion – not for a day, not for an hour, not for even one MINUTE.
“Now… if you will sign this release form, please… how much should I write the check for?”
So I ask you: will Auburn University trade its dignity, its pride, and its reputation for a few dollars? Are the accomplishments of this great university and its alumni so insignificant that we’re willing to be the “town idiot” on a national stage for a decade? Please tell me you will do whatever is required to prevent our alma mater from becoming a national laughing stock.
I look forward to your reply. And again, War Eagle!
James L. Magruder ’83
* Auburn players spend New Year’s Eve at Dreamland with at-risk youth
* Ronald Reagan was an Auburn fan
* Who’s the kid with the Auburn shirt in “Return of Swamp Thing”?
* Mates of State’s Jason Hammel talks football
* Pat Dye responds to ‘loudmouth’ allegations from 1959
* G.I. Joe’s Auburn’s connection
* Rare candids of Pat Sullivan and Terry Beasley at the ’71 Heisman dinner
“I can safely say that we are rank amateurs compared to “those people” when it comes to unethical and disgusting behavior.”
Interesting. A tad presumptuous, but it would probably be too late to send this letter after the game. And luckily, I don’t believe in jinxes.
I didn’t realize that it wasn’t Alabama’s choice to display the trophy at Wal-Mart.
God I hope we win.
He's the Chiz and Nobody Beats Him says
I wholeheartedly endorse this letter. I’ve talked way too much trash about the Walmart display of last year to have my beloved university do the same thing the very next year. This Walmart display was the silver lining to the dark cloud that was Alabama’s 832nd claimed national championship. BTW, tattoo guy brings joy to my existence every time I see his picture.
Let’s hope Oregon feels the same way – should they win Monday night.
I second the motion – as I’m sure most all AU alums would. I even propose taking up a collection from alums for said reimbursement………I’m sure we would collect plenty, and then some, to avoid this!
I could really care less if they display the trophy in a highly accessable place for all AU fans to enjoy, but that is because I am not a snob or a middle aged mook with an overinflated opinion of myself (not to mention a serious case of LBS). Nor am I someone who is going to go pose with, drool on, or otherwise interact with a trophy that I didn’t win.
I guess I am not up on the latest shopping ‘cool’ place, what with being a man and all, but when did buying merchandise at Wallyworld become an act of overt indignity?
To each his own, but I would love to be a fly on the wall listening to a converstion in which Mr. Magruder tells Lee Z that the company his Dad works for is beneath the dignity of Auburn fans and alumns.
No offense Mr. Magruder, but you might want to consider taking yourself a little less seriously. I know I do.
Auburn Elvis says
The Auburn Arena is the perfect place to display any trophy, SEC, BCS, Heisman, etc.
Bama’s Walmart incident was laughable. If Auburn attempts the same, I’ll join anyone in physically blocking the store’s entrance to prevent such a travesty.
Amen. At least shoot for a SuperTarget.
Is it just me, or did the tattoo artist goof up on the guy’s forearm in the picture?
Ink is so permanent…
You may also add to this letter that, unlike the Bammer people, most who claim allegiance to our University attended it, and regularly visit campus. If the trophy were to be displayed on that campus, I highly doubt many Auburn people would bother to go see it at Wal-mart when they could easily see it at Auburn.
In fact, I know at least ten in my immediate and extended family that would use it as an excuse to come back and visit. Just sayin’.
If we win, I’ll join Auburn Elvis in blocking the entrance to Wal Mart. The trophy should either be displayed in the Auburn Arena or the University Bookstore.
I won’t even drive past a Wal-Mart on purpose.
Alex P in Smyrna G says
I am an AU alum and I go to Walmart regulary to purchase hosehold needs. That doesn’t mean it’s an appropriate venue to display a BCS trophy.
If it comes to it, the AU blogosphere needs to unite in a PR campaign to organize pickets of the Walmarts – or atleast discourage people from attending.
I am also am of the belief that the AU ticket office should verify your diploma before selling you a season ticket. But that’s just me.
John Ringer says
I am with Chuck – the tatoo on the forearm is a mirror image or something – there is no way that can be read correctly.
Regarding the tatoo – the forearms spell out Rammer Jammer when held in front of his chest, hands knuckle to knuckle. (Although it looks like “Lammer” – which is pretty appropriate too) I’ve actually had a conversation with this guy. My spouse is a Bammer and I have run across him at UA tailgates. Surprisingly, he is very nice and intellegent (shocker!). But, I am definately glad he is “their” fan………WDE
Poor photoshop job. Fortunately, There will be no coaches trophy available for auburn to display at the local Piggly Wiggly. It will be at the Home Depot in Eugene, Or.
Nope, it’s not photoshopped — a few seconds searching on Google turned up this photo: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1271/1323430726_f76fc27eeb.jpg?v=0
I thought it was a mirror image, too, but the “J” is still backwards even then. The hook in the J should be in the opposite direction of the letters E and R, not going the same way.
My spouse is a fan of “that other team,” too (bless her heart), so I’m glad to hear that he’s a nice enough guy.
This post brought to you by the letters “WDE!”
Sam Walton says
We wouldn’t want it anyway. WOO PIG SOIEE!
Snobs. It’s sad that y’all are so selfish that you feel it’s beneath you for something you didn’t earn yourself to be shared with all walks of life at a walmart. In the SEC, most fanbases are made up of more non-graduates than graduates of the school and football team they all love so much. This surely was a huge thrill and something many poor fans will cherish forever. Just cause they can’t afford season tickets or a fancy degree doesn’t mean they can’t support their team and enjoy the championship in a unique way at a walmart. Snobs. Pathetic. And before I’m bashed, I’m on the “fancy” side of this as a SEC season ticket holder and alum (neither Bama or AU). You all should learn to share the joy of a NC will all fans that love their team regardless of income or prestige.
Auburn Elvis says
Tyler, Are you dense? I mean really, are you? I want that trophy shared with everyone, too. But not in a Walmart! Why not on campus? Or in the Conference center of a hotel? Common people use bus stations, sidewalks and public restrooms, but are those really places to display an esteemed trophy?
It was a “Contractual” deal with Dr. Pepper and Wal-mart last year….same as this year. The Trophy will be at select Wal-mart areas in the next few months. My guess is it will be at the South College St. Wal-mart either as the first or last stop of the tour.
Good lord I hate Wal-Mart.
This is hilarious coming from an Aubie. When you guys try to pass yourselves off as somehow better than any other SEC school you confirm the opinion of most SEC fans that you are a bunch of whiners. Everybody laughs at you.
Just out of curiosity, are you going to pull out those classy hay trailers and haul your rented mules around campus like you did the last time you won anything?
What a joke.
Mississippi State fan says
Walmart or no walmart, enjoy it while you can before it’s taken away by the NCAA
How can a program that leads the nation in NCAA infractions have class or standers? ANSWER THEY DON’T PAY FOR PLAY
LOL @ Awwbarn 42-14 hahahaha.