Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Report: Texas A&M leaving Big 12


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.

— Texas A&M; has notified the Big 12 it will withdraw from the conference, according to a newspaper report.

The New York Times said in a story posted on its website Monday night that Texas A&M; President R. Bowen Loftin sent a letter to Missouri Chancellor and Big 12 board chairman Brady Deaton to inform the league it was leaving. The report cited two unidentified college officials with direct knowledge of the decision.

University spokesman Jason Cook did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment late Monday night.

Texas A&M;’s departure would cast doubt on the future of the Big 12 and could lead to more major changes to college athletics.

The university said earlier Monday it had received a letter from Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe outlining the withdrawal procedure should the Aggies decide to leave the league.

Cook said the letter “outlines the withdrawal procedures according to the financial provisions of the Big 12 bylaws and mutual waivers of legal claims.” He wouldn’t provide any other details of the letter or comment on what A&M;’s next step might be.

The Aggies are interested in joining the Southeastern Conference and the dueling letters come less than a week after they formally told Beebe they are exploring their options and asked for the conference to outline the process if they decide to leave. The league’s board of directors addressed the possible departure of the Aggies this weekend.

“I certainly appreciate the discussion among the Big 12 presidents/chancellors and the expression of their desire for Texas A&M; to remain in the conference,” Loftin said in a statement issued before The New York Times report. “We all agree that Texas A&M; is an extremely valuable institution; thus, it is incumbent upon me, as the president of the university, to ensure that we are in a position to enhance our national visibility and future financial opportunity.”

Loftin added this is a “complex and long-term decision,” but “it is not our intent to prolong our conference exploration for an extended period of time.”

The SEC said earlier this month it was happy with its current 12-school membership but left the door open to expansion. Loftin then received authority from the board of regents to take any action he deems necessary in terms of realignment.

There is concern that a departure by the Aggies could jeopardize the future of the Big 12, which is down to 10 teams after Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) left the league last July. Loftin has said the Aggies would consider how their departure would impact the future of Big 12 before any decision is made.

The Big 12 would need to find a team to replace the Aggies if they exit the conference and there has been a lot of speculation about possible schools. So far, the only school to publicly express interest in moving to the Big 12 is SMU. Athletic director Steve Orsini said he’s had informal talks with Big 12 officials for some time to inform them of the school’s improvements and growth.

In the letter Loftin sent to the Big 12 last week, he said if the Aggies leave, they would want to do it in a manner that complies with league bylaws. He also has said financial concerns will factor into any decision to leave; the school likely would face an exit fee.

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.

The Big 12 declined to comment on Monday’s letter.


blackhawkjayhawk 8 years, 10 months ago

Know what would be funny? If Texas announced that they were going to be the 14th team in the SEC?

While this decision makes absolutely zero sense for A&M, it's like telling a college student that it's a bad idea to drink 21 shots of alcohol to celebrate a 21t birthday....they just can't help themselves.

Now what?

Jeff Coffman 8 years, 10 months ago

Texas can't join any of the BCS conferences because of the Longhorn Network. All other conferences don't allow it.

That might actually be good news for KU, because last year we were potentially the odd man out. Now we actually have a shot of going to the PAC.

Robert Brock 8 years, 10 months ago

It is still possible for the Big XII to survive. To lose Colorado, Nebraska, and Texas A&M is huge. Any more defections and the conference is done. Who's next? Missouri?

bradh 8 years, 10 months ago

MU keeps offering to join other conferences. The other conferences keep rejecting them. Hopefully that will continue, but the SEC will want at least one more team to balance out the A&M addition. If Va Tech declines, watch out.

Benjamin Piehler 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm reposing this from an older thread, got there a bit late. Apologies if you read it twice.

I'm curious... would you all rather stay in the big 12 if they pick up non-powerhouse teams?

BYU went independent in football last year, and they have their own network... I don't see them coming. TCU is a long shot and you are dreaming if you think ND wants to take any risks with the Big 12... and it's that risk that will probably keep us from attracting other "big" universities.

SMU, Houston or Air force are the most likely additions, and it would probably be a decent move for them. But for the remaining teams from the Big 12, I'm not so sure anymore, its not exactly a stellar conference. Also, more teams from Texas further alienates the remaining schools from the Big 12 North. My opinion is, we should find a new home, if offered. I know we aren't going to make any initiative, simply because football is driving the realignment bus and there is in-state pressure to remain with K-State. But if the Big 12 keeps crumbling, I think we may be one of the later teams to receive an invite somewhere else... and we should accept, assuming it's a respectable conference.

The up side to remaining in the Big 12 is familiar foes and an easier basketball schedule, and its still probably better than the MWC... I'm fed up with Texas though, calling all the shots... the skewed revenue sharing is lame compared to the equal stakes that other conferences give, like the Big 10. I can't blame A&M for their decision.

Kyle Sybesma 8 years, 10 months ago

Exactly!! BCS teams leaving and midmajors enter = watered down Big 12. Let's get out now. It has to be believed that Mizzou is an option for the 14th team in the SEC. KU, K-State, Oklahoma and OSU need to join together and go to the PAC 12 or go at it on our own to the BIG 10 with Notre Dame, Syracuse and West Virginia.

prairie_rattler 8 years, 10 months ago

I was more than content when we were part of the Big 8. That was a great conference. With A&M gone, we're still in a better place for all the reasons HCBS has said. Furthermore, I think that if Baylor were dropped, our league would be perfect. Texas and Texas Tech more than make up for the loss of Nebraska and Colorado, respectively.

Kyle Sybesma 8 years, 10 months ago

KU Fans need to remember one thing. This is about money. If any other major conference, the PAC 12, SEC or BIG 10, make an invitation to a BIG 12 school they would be foolish to reject it. Each school in those conferences are on a level playing field when it comes to revenue sharing of the TV deals and that means more money for the Big 12 school. That's why Colorado and Nebraska left. As we speak Texas gets the largest chunk of the Big 12 TV deal because they have more games aired and they have the Longhorn network with ESPN.

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