Texas A&M began to separate itself from the hashtag "WRTS" on Thursday as more questions arose about the connection to its top football recruit.
Various people and accounts connected to Texas A&M started using #WRTS, which stands for We Run This State, on Twitter during recruiting this past season. Among those that used it was the @AggieFBLife handle, which is run by a third party but connected to an athletic staff member with the Aggies.
The hashtag was also used by Daylon Mack, a five-star defensive tackle and the No. 1 recruit in Texas, who was deciding between Texas A&M and Texas before eventually landing with the Aggies.
But it went deeper than that. Mack's father, Coris, filed for the trademark to #WRTS with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in June, four months before his son committed to the school. Mack trademarked the phrase to be used on virtually every form of athletic apparel through Derek Gilliland, the same attorney who has filed for all of Johnny Manziel's trademarks, including "Johnny Football."
Coris Mack didn't own the trademark yet, as the Patent and Trademark Office had given him until July to answer questions about the phrase before granting him ownership. But A&M rendered the mark, at least at its school, virtually useless Thursday in an attempt to disconnect from any appearance of impropriety.
"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."