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Big 12 Conference

Friday, August 26, 2011

Texas A&M serves league notice

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Texas A&M; took another step toward leaving the Big 12 on Thursday, formally telling the conference it was exploring all its options.

Reader poll

Do you think Texas A&M should remain a part of the Big 12 conference?

  • Yes. 48% 832 votes
  • No. 51% 897 votes

1729 total votes.

Less than a week after publicly expressing interest in joining the SEC, Texas A&M; President R. Bowen Loftin said in a letter to conference Commissioner Dan Beebe that it shouldn’t be considered notice that the Aggies have already decided to leave.

“As I have indicated previously, we are working very deliberately to act in the best long-term interests of both Texas A&M; and the State of Texas,” Loftin said in a statement released by the university. “This truly is a 100-year decision. While we understand the desire of all parties to quickly reach a resolution, these are extremely complex issues that we are addressing methodically.”

Loftin received authority from the board of regents to take any action he deems necessary in terms of realignment on Aug. 15, a day after the SEC said it was happy with its current 12-school membership but left the door open to expansion. The SEC declined comment Thursday.

If Texas A&M; leaves the Big 12, the move could create a shake-up across college sports. In 2010, Texas considered offers to join the Big Ten and the Pac 10 before deciding to stay in the Big 12. Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) left the Big 12 in July.

Beebe said the Big 12 board of directors will discuss the letter.

“It remains our strong desire for Texas A&M; to continue as a member of the Big 12 and we are working toward that end,” Beebe said in a statement. “However, if it is decided otherwise, the conference is poised to move aggressively with options.”

Loftin said last week that he first approached SEC Commissioner Mike Slive on July 21 about Texas A&M;’s interest in the SEC. He also said the Aggies would consider what their departure would mean for the future of the Big 12 before making any decisions.

Texas A&M; athletic director Bill Byrne said he supports Loftin’s “desire to explore all options” concerning the future of the university.

“We all want what is best for the Aggies,” Byrne said in a statement released by the school. “I’ve met with all of our head coaches to keep them informed and we all remain excited and optimistic about the future of Texas A&M; athletics.”

In the letter, Loftin asked that the conference outline the process Texas A&M; should follow if it decides to leave. Loftin said if the Aggies leave, they would want to do it in a way that complies with league bylaws and supports efforts to seek a new member of the conference. The school would presumably face some kind of exit fee.

Loftin has said financial consequences will certainly factor into any decision A&M; makes about its future.

The Big 12, including Texas A&M;, agreed to a 13-year television deal with Fox Sports in April worth more than $1 billion. There is a chance the contract could be voided if the Aggies leave the conference, which could lead to legal issues for Texas A&M; and its new league.

On Thursday, Loftin reiterated Texas A&M;’s reasoning for looking to move conferences.

“Ultimately, we are seeking to generate greater visibility nationwide for Texas A&M; and our championship-caliber student-athletes, as well as secure the necessary and stable financial resources to support our athletic and academic programs,” Loftin said. “As a public university, Texas A&M; owes it to the state’s taxpayers to maximize our assets and generate additional revenues both now and well into the future.”

Some are worried what a departure by A&M; would mean for the future of the Aggies’ annual football game against Texas, a rivalry dating back to 1894. Loftin has said he hopes they could continue the game even if Texas A&M; leaves the Big 12.

“We would love to see A&M; in the conference,” Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said. “(But) if they feel they have to go, we wish them the very best.”

If the Aggies leave the Big 12, there would be plenty of interest from other schools to fill their spot in the conference. SMU is a school that has publicly expressed interest in joining the Big 12.

Comments

100 7 years, 9 months ago

Translation: "We're jealous of UT. Signed, the 6th best football team in Texas."

blackhawkjayhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

Here's one out of left field.

A&M leaves to be doormat of SEC. We add: Army, Navy, Air Force and go back to 12 teams. Going to the Big 12 would be a huge boost for the academies. For the Big 12, no one can argue the academics, name recognition or the fit - shouldn't the academies be in a heart-of-America type conference?

Revenue and tv sets? Probably better than some might think.

ccarp 7 years, 9 months ago

Love it....championship caliber athletes...yet they have such an inferiority complex with Texas, they are ready to bounce. Losers.

Beate Williams 7 years, 9 months ago

And Loftin really thinks that Texas will continue to play them after they have shown they are so jealous of Texas they would leave the conference just to "show them we are as big as they are." Give me a break. I didn't want them to go but now I can't wait for them to head on down the road and become the doormat they are and I hope they enjoy getting their butts kicked in football, basketball, volleyball and even track, the lone sport they have essentially owned in the Big 12 and have done well nationally but I feel things will change for them in track because of the recruiting competition in the SEC. I say good riddance, take your yell and get out of town.

Beate Williams 7 years, 9 months ago

And Loftin really thinks that Texas will continue to play them after they have shown they are so jealous of Texas they would leave the conference just to "show them we are as big as they are." Give me a break. I didn't want them to go but now I can't wait for them to head on down the road and become the doormat they are and I hope they enjoy getting their butts kicked in football, basketball, volleyball and even track, the lone sport they have essentially owned in the Big 12 and have done well nationally but I feel things will change for them in track because of the recruiting competition in the SEC. I say good riddance, take your yell and get out of town.

kureader 7 years, 9 months ago

Texas A&M President ... "We are working very deliberately to act in the best long-term interests of both Texas A&M and the State of Texas".

It does appear that the Texas schools only care about themselves and the state of Texas. The A&M President pretty much makes it official with his comments. Except for Oklahoma, it seems that the other Big 12 schools outside of Texas have very little influence. Given Beebe's history, it wouldn't surprise me if he pursues the addition of Houston and/or SMU. Perhaps we should change the conference's name to the "Big Texas Conference".

I like the state of Texas as much as anyone, but we have enough Texas schools in our conference. BYU and/or Air Force would be better additions than SMU or Houston.

baldwinjhawk 7 years, 9 months ago

I say NO to the Mormons.. We already have the Baptists and one private school is one too many. I say go big or fail.. Arizona and Arizona State are the first choice. Then bounce to Louisville and Colorado State. All large public schools with decent reps and academics.

Randy Bombardier 7 years, 9 months ago

No to Houston, SMU or TCU until we go to 14 or more members. State of Texas will try to get all their schools in a BCS conference if they could. That is to be expected. All we have to do is say, not now.

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