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A&M to SEC getting serious

What began with Texas A&M playing the role of the angry youngster who wanted to take his ball and go home appears to have moved into a stage that will change the look of the Big 12 Conference for the second time in 14 months.

You thought it was weird to have a league with 10 teams go by the moniker, “Big 12?” Try staring at one with nine.

The Rivals.com site AggieYell.com reported Thursday evening that A&M had decided to leave the Big 12 and that the SEC had extended an official invitation. According to reports, the key date is Aug. 22. That’s when A&M’s board of regents are expected to meet and possibly vote to join the SEC as soon as 2012.

When the rumors about A&M’s courtship with the SEC first popped up, they appeared to be nothing more than grumblings from a university that was upset with its older brother. The Texas Longhorns always got everything they wanted, and life, A&M seemed to think, was just not fair.

However, in the past couple of days, some key people have given legs to the speculation, including Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds and Texas governor Rick Perry, an A&M graduate living in Austin, who, on Saturday, is expected to announce his candidacy for president of the United States.

To call this whole thing odd would be an understatement. To call it a done deal would be a little off base. However, there is real talk going on between A&M and the SEC and the Aggies’ move south could become official or blow up entirely at any minute.

Sources have told the Journal-World that the Big 12 could, and likely would, survive if it lost A&M.

Texas, and to a smaller extent Oklahoma, continue to be the key pieces here. If they were to leave the Big 12 along with A&M, we could be in for a repeat of last summer’s scramble regarding conference realignment.

Officials at neither OU nor Texas have hinted that they’re unhappy with the current set-up, so, at this point, it looks as if A&M may be walking this walk by itself.

Reports from around the Big 12 have suggested that the other nine schools have been busy getting their ducks in a row should it become time to act. But the belief here is that the rest of the league is at least happy enough with the current set-up and would be content to explore adding a 10th school — instead of disbanding — should A&M bolt for the SEC.

Schools that could be considered include and are not limited to: Arkansas, Houston, Notre Dame, TCU and others.

Of course, with Missouri continuing to flirt with the Big Ten and Texas always able to do whatever the heck it wants, Big 12 ground remains unstable at best. A scenario that sends Kansas to the Big East or Pac-16 still could happen.

Things are beginning to look worse than they did a year ago as conference and school officials have had several months to contemplate what their futures might look like and how they may want to shape them.

It’s a very different landscape than it was in June of 2010, and the reality is it’s a drastically different picture than the one Beebe painted when he stood up at Big 12 media days in Dallas last month and boasted about how strong the Big 12’s bond was.

There’s still a long way to go in all of this and it’s a safe guess that a resolution — one way or the other — will come quickly.

Things may appear worse for the Big 12 as a whole this time around, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be worse for Kansas.

Stay tuned.

Here's a look at what's being written around Big 12 country and nationally.

The Sporting News looks at the mass expansion that could take place should A&M leave the Big 12

CBSsports.com says A&M to SEC could happen

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says it will happen and also examines OU’s role in this.

ESPN.com’s SEC blogger says it’s only a matter of time before SEC expands.

Houston Chronicle says Texas A&M has one foot out the door.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe is taking things very seriously.

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Comments

mustlehustle 2 years, 8 months ago

Its the same reason you haven't seen anything about this on ESPN. They win regardless of what A&M decides to do. ABC/ESPN, have the SEC rights, and if A&M leaves, it clears the runway for their $300M investment in the Longhorn Network. If you notice when the Yankees play, and the amount of coverage afforded them by ESPN, or its obvious which NASCAR races are being telecast by ESPN...because its the only time they mention NASCAR.

The same will hold true for the University of Texas. They will becomes NBC's equivalent of Notre Dame. You will see all things University of Texas when it comes to ESPN, outside of the SEC. The economical forecasts predict more growth for the State of Texas, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, will become larger and more influential television markets in the next 20 years, and ESPN is smart enough to act now. Its the same job and economic prosperity that has Rick Perry throwing his hat into the Presidential ring.

They simply have a rabid fan base, that puts seats in a 105,000 seat stadium, that combines to generate over $100M annually to the Athletic Department, and all reasons point to why ESPN hitched their wagon, building a TV Studio, and staffing permanent on-air reporters and in-studio host to Darryl K.Royal Memorial Stadium.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

What are you guys talking about? Ku gives a conference the KC market. Which last time I checked is top 30 and big enough to support two professional teams and is always considered for NHL or NBA relocation. We will land in a superconferenc. My guess is it will be in which ever one doesn't take Missouri.

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Hammertoe 2 years, 8 months ago

Well said... TV markets and Football are leading the way to conference realignment and neither KU or KSU have much power on either front...

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mustlehustle 2 years, 8 months ago

Interesting thoughts Rob....the problem is Kansas doesn't bring as much to the table as Missouri does. Again, its a TV market grab...its all being driven by the bidding wars between ABC/ESPN and CBS, FOX and the Notre Dame network, NBC.

Missouri is ultimately attractive to the Big 10 or SEC because of its proximity, and also because St. Louis is a larger TV market and Missouri can also bring some of the smaller Kansas City TV market. That's why ESPN has hitched their wagon to UT...Dallas and Houston are Top 10 Television Markets, and economic projections are both cities will become larger in the next 10 years.. San Antonio is approximately the same size TV market as Kansas City, so that's a third market for ESPN and UT.

Larry Scott, the PAC 12 Commissioner is building and grouping "regional tv markets" in his conference. That's why a Texas/Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State groupings made sense to them last year. The reason UT wasn't interested last year is because of the ESPN offer of $300M over the next 20 years for their own network and not a regional one in the PAC 12.

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Kevin Crook 2 years, 8 months ago

Football success is all about proximity to players. KU will NEVER be consistently competitive in Big 12 football, or in any conference. The state of Kansas does not have enough good players to feed both KU and KSU, especially after so many of the good players we do have go out of state. We can be greatly improved year after year in this conference and never be much better than .500 consistently. Why beat our heads against the wall against vastly superior football programs? This conference is the pits. I'm not sure there is a conference where we COULD be competitive in football anyway (really any sport other than basketball unfortunately). The Big 12 is no great deal for us though. KSU has absolutely ZERO relevance in any sport. Yes they clobbered us in football last year, but so what? ISU is no better. We would be competitive in basketball in any conference.

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rob4lb 2 years, 8 months ago

It more and more sounds like a done deal that A&M will leave. You would have to think that the SEC would want to add a 14th school. Then the dominos could fall. Interesting comments about the ties of our new AD to K-State. I would hope that he understands who is paying him and that this scenario was addressed during the interview process. Deloss Dodds is the UT AD and a K-State grad. He did not seem very loyal to K-State last year. Kevin Weiberg is a high level administrator of the Pac-12 and a K-State grad and when they were orchestrating the move to take 6 Big 12 schools last year, he did not seem loyal to K-State.

I have thought about this alot and I believe, KU's best option may be to pair with MU and convince the Pac-12 to bring them into their conference. I think as a package, both could bring in enough value to justify an invitation.

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mustlehustle 2 years, 8 months ago

Latest word I am hearing is SEC Presidents are confirmed for meeting tomorrow to discuss A&M as an addition. August 22nd will be meeting for A&M BOR to vote. State of Texas lawmakers will be a formidable and possibly decisive hurdle for A&M. The "Permanent University Fund" is a $6B yes "billion" dollar fund that is oil and gas fields, production owned by the State of Texas.

This fund gets split among the schools and 1/3 of that amount is given to A&M. Those monies "may" be threatened by lawmakers to keep A&M from jumping to SEC. The other rumor is SEC wanting to make the first move at "super conference" supremacy and in addition to A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Virginia Tech are being courted. The issue isn't Texas showing high school football (again UT ranks by Rivals as number 1 in recruiting regardless of a network) the issue is the long-term influences that ESPN will have inluencing future games played and their continued innovation in programming and influence how powerful UT can become nationally.

What makes it most interesting is Oklahoma has been quiet amongst all the posturing and leveraging this week. Oklahoma has publicly said as long as the Big 12 can remain, even if its only 9 teams, they will hold their position. The Big 12(or 9) still gets an automatic BCS bid and now they don't have a conference championship game. Oklahoma perceives the path to a possible national championship is easier than ever before. "IF" it all becomes dismantled, UT Athletic Director Deloss Dodds indicated this week they may re-visit the Independent Conference with Notre Dame. Recall Notre Dame is who the Big 10 wanted and had to settle for Nebraska.

That will be one option and the other will be the PAC 10 where you have coupled Oregon/Oregon State, Washington/Washington State, Arizona/Arizona State, and it could easily add Texas/Texa Tech and Oklahoma/Oklahoma State. None of these are new concepts and have continued to be discussed since they were first made public a year ago. It's about to get very interesting and it can certainly move very fast beginning August 22nd. The music is going to loud, and when it stops, it will be interesting who has has found a chair.

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actorman 2 years, 8 months ago

And the fun never ends ...

Logically, the Big 10 would seem to be the best fit for KU. On the other hand, from a selfish standpoint I'd love to see them in the Pac-16, as I'd get to see them play more often.

In any case, it's sad that there's no stability. I really miss the days when every conference was set with the same teams for years.

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HawkfromHays 2 years, 8 months ago

Go get Notre Dame we're at least the second most lucrative conference out there. Let them have their own network like Texas and it's a mutually beneficial relationship. If only we didn't the most un-proactive effing commissioner....

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

Hey Hammertoe, you're proving our point about KSU by posting on our site. I'm pretty sure a school without a decent website and message boards is not going to be a hot item come realignment time.

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clovis_sangrail 2 years, 8 months ago

I vvote that they send the Texas schools packing and resurrect the old Big 6.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

I've spent the last hour throwing up because I realized it's not the Kansas state legislatures ties to KSU that worry me...it's our AD's!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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mustlehustle 2 years, 8 months ago

I just learned from a reliable source that SEC officials are meeting Saturday to discuss the addition of Texas A&M...I sure hope everyone has a chair when the music stops!

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LogicMan 2 years, 8 months ago

I hope this talk of A&M leaving proves empty. But if not, and the southern Big 12-2 teams split, then the Big 10+2 should step-up and take KU, KSU, MU, and ISU. Makes sense geographically and culturally, especially when we go back to riding the rails instead of jets. It would be big of our NU friends to go public with this idea.

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Krohnutz 2 years, 8 months ago

What I find completely HILARIOUS is how quiet ESPN has been on this. They are hoping to just bury their heads in the sand and it will go away.

Not even a blurb on the sports ticker bar.

Think about their non-stop coverage last year and all the "speculation" and garbage. And now nothing? A government official from that state makes a comment and nothing?

Right now the clicki on their NCAA FB tab has "Texas' Brown balancing network demands, job" as third tab, while the GOVERNOR of the damn state making a comment that A&M is maybe leaving is four spots below it.

Yeah, I'd be leaving.

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Hammertoe 2 years, 8 months ago

If the Big 12 breaks up, it would be a bad situation for both KU and KSU. We are small markets with little power ...for the big revenue TV sport of football. The population of the entire state of Kansas is 2.8 Million. Twice that many people in just Houston. The Big East might be okay for basketball, but would suck for every other sport. Imagine the volleyball team or baseball teams travel costs and travel problems. Turgeon left A & M as it's a football school that could care less about other sports. They couldn't sell out when he was winning in basketball. The bottom line is college sports is all about the almighty $$$$. Nothing good can come out of a Big 12 break up for KU and KSU.

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Krohnutz 2 years, 8 months ago

If you want to feel better about KU's situation you should read this.

Since I called this scenario a year ago, let's update my further predictions from this point:

First off, A&M SHOULD leave the Big 12 for the SEC. That they even have to deliberate the move only makes me question their stupidity. Has UT planted turds in their decision makers?

Second, the Pac-16 spot that we "lost" to Utah has been reopened. "But Nutz, how?" you might be asking. Texas Tech and Baylor should be worried right now. They were "follow-ins" to UT joining the Pac-12. But UT isn't going to join anything, they are inevitably going independent now that their dream of a Schlonghorn Network has been realized. And any real conference is not about to allow them to set up their own lame recruiting channel. Baylor was already a "no go" with the Pac-16 idea before, Tech was only allowable because it was not religiously tied and UT had to bring along their cousin. The only question here is what do Oklahoma and Oklahoma State do? That might be what determines where KU heads.

And if the Pac-16 falls through? I wouldn't sweat it. We end up in the Big East and play in the premier basketball league in all the NCAA. How will that help us? Bill Self, an already strong recruiter, can now recruit from coast to coast, be in the biggest markets, and be featured on ESPN even more with key season matchups against Syracuse, UConn, Cincy, Louisville (Pitino back in Allen anybody?), etc.

And in football? Are you kidding me? We could COMPETE in that conference. No current member is ranked in the preseason top 25. To quote LeBron... "Not one. Not two. Three. Fo. Five..." Nada, zero. With TCU joining next year KU would be one of the only true Big East teams able to pull recruits out of both Texas and Florida.

My argument is not that the grass is greener, my argument is that the grass is ours to eat, instead of getting fed what others don't want. We cannot go wrong making a move, we can only go wrong by failing to move at all.

I said this last year and I'll say it again, KU should be making a move for their future.

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Hammertoe 2 years, 8 months ago

A & M went 19-19 the last 4 years in football playing weak teams like Iowa State, Colorado and KU... They would be an average team at best in the SEC

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

A lot of between the lines stuff going on here.

This is a shot by CBS (SEC rights) to steal a major market from abc on Saturday's.

Espn may want the big12 to fail and UT to go independent so they could have the rights to every UT game.

Gene Stallings (SEC ties) is on the aTm board.

And so on...

2 things. It would be nice to hear something from our AD and the Kansas State Legislature cannot keep us tied to KSU. It's best for the state to have one school in the national spotlight making loads of cash than two schools in the MWC making nothing.

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Kevin Crook 2 years, 8 months ago

I'd love a new conference. I'm sick of these douche bags like KSU. Time for a change. It's boring watching the same teams over and over.

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Ben Kliewer 2 years, 8 months ago

The Big Ten should just absorb what's left of the old Big 12 North making them a 16 team power conference. That makes the Big (16) Ten formidable in both football, and in basketball with the addition of Kansas and Kansas State. Plus, you retain great rivalries like Kansas/Nebraska, Kansas/Mizzou, Kansas/Kansas State, Mizzou/Illinois, Iowa/Iowa State, etc. etc. etc. Plus, from our perspective, it gives us a football power conference to belong to, just like now, and an opportunity to continue building our football program. We'll just get lumped in with "those teams" like Minnesota, Northwestern, Illinois...you know, "those teams." Then, UT goes independent, OU, OSU, TTech and A&M go to the SEC making them a 16 team conference... Nobody cares about Baylor, but they can follow TCU to the Big East. Boise, Hawaii, Nevada and somebody else can join the Pac (or other teams can do that, I don't care) making them 16 teams, then we have at least 3 "super conferences" and the ACC could potentially raid the Big East for some teams to join in on the action. Let's quit d*cking around and do this already. We all know that's where it's going.

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kureignman 2 years, 8 months ago

I didn't believe the rumors of conference realignment last time and was shocked that it happened. I was also surprised the commish kept his job after "saving" the conference This time I think we should already be in serious talks with other conferences. My first choice would be the ACC since it fits us best athletically. Next would be the Big 10 because of geography. Then the PAC 12. And last the big east, even if we have to join as a non football school (just joking).

I think if TAM goes to the SEC they will probably take OU, OSU, and TT with them. Texas will become an independent. The PAC 12 will try to get us but we will only go if they take Ksu which might be a problem. Other schools left fighting to get into conference USA.

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Hank Cross 2 years, 8 months ago

"The good news for Big 12 fans is that Beebe has been here before." Sorry, Matt but it's obvious that Beebe is nothing more than Dodds's throne dwarf. When are KU fans going to wake up and realize 'it was Barzini all along?' UT took over the conference lock, stock, and barrell.

You want our lunch money from CU and NU? Yes Bevo. Your own network which will broadcast HS games? Yes Bevo, we know we won't get anything more than a two-star FB recruit out of TX again once the good players have been on the Longhorn Network, it's OK Bevo.

Gig'em A&M! The sooner this conference gets blown to pieces, the sooner KU v. Gtown, UConn, Cuse, Ville, etc. become regular season games.

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JHWKDW 2 years, 8 months ago

Grow up Texas A&M! They are acting like little children them and Texas!Also when is enough enough? Concerning Kansas in this Ive read some writers out west who have said they wanted Kansas in the Pac 12 conference!But they also wanted Missouri in the Pac 12 because of the large St Louis market, and they want to have the Kansas Missouri rivalry in their conference!

Still I think this whole deal is sad!We have overall a great conference, and because of idiotic greed it may break up!

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Janet Scott 2 years, 8 months ago

Zenger should get his rear in gear and make a deal for KU, sans Mizzery and Manure U, rather than wait around and be faced with joining the MWC or the MVC. With only mens bball to sale, KU does not have a lot of choices. I believe UT and OU will bolt the Big 12 soon: UT will go first when they get their tender "feelings hurt", and then OU will leave, when the Big 12 is faced Texas-less. KU's "Z" hasn't shown much on Mt. Oread to this point other than a lot of smiling and uttering PC nonsense, and Dan "Can Man" Beebe has shown even less in the Big 12, ranking just below Moammar Gadaffhi when it comes to charisma and management moxy. Pretty unimpressive to date.

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Phoggin_Loud 2 years, 8 months ago

Has Texas A&M been relevant since the SWC??

They should join Notre Dame, Florida State, Clemson, Iowa, Colorado, Missouri, & Yale and start the "Glory Days" Conference.

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Pitthawk34 2 years, 8 months ago

There is word that Dallas Radio 103.3 is reporting that Tam to SEC is a done deal. Have a friend in Houston who said that is correct. What the hell is going on. Hopefully this is BS.

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Pitthawk34 2 years, 8 months ago

We had all better hope that our AD is up to the task and has a contigency plan in place with several options. This conference is not going to last long. No 2 ways about it. My worry is that since he is a KSU guy if things come to worse and we have several options he will take a option that keeps Kansas State attached to our behinds. If things shake up and SEC and Big 10 Raid the ACC I would rather go to ACC then to the Big East.

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fabio 2 years, 8 months ago

I think it would be a smart move for the Ags to go to the SEC. Its widely understood it is the elite conference in football, the money sport, as well as the popular sport.
doubleJ25- I understand your probably a KU fan, so you may have overlooked this, but Texas A&M is currently ranked in the Top 10 in the coaches preseason poll in football, so you understand that I disagree with your comment that the Aggies "would get crushed in everything". Turner Gill is a nice guy, we feel bad beating him by 40 every year. Besides, beating KU by 40 dosent really do much for our program anyway.

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Todd 2 years, 8 months ago

This is all ridiculous. It's about nothing but money and whining about big brother Texas getting too much attention. A&M would get crushed in everything in the SEC. And like SJR said, what makes A&M think that LSU or 'Bama or Florida might not try to get their own networks?

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ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

Still think the pac10 might step up again. With them getting ready to launch a new network I'm sure they would love a school east of CO. We just need Sheahon to step up (hahaha right) and show them that ku reaches not only the kc market but also parts of Denver, Chicago, Stl, Dallas, and has a big presence on the west coast already which would help with ticket sales. Every pharmacist I talk to in Phoenix went to KU and SoCal is full of alum. The thing about most KU grads is they leave after they graduate giving KU a much bigger national presence then most people think.

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Clarence Haynes 2 years, 8 months ago

Wishful thinking about Notre Dame

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fabio 2 years, 8 months ago

Danny- It could be worse, the article could of mentioned our current President, or the deficit, or job numbers, or our new credit rating, or Libya.

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nuleafjhawk 2 years, 8 months ago

As far as I'm concerned - EVERYONE can bail from the Big 12 - just leave us and K-State. Then we will win the league every year until the end of eternity in basketball and at least win it every other year in football.

As time progresses, we can add in Emporia State, Washburn, Pittsburg State, Haskell, Bethany, Brown Mackie and Kansas Wesleyan. We will cut travel expenses and keep all the money in-state.

We could stil call it the Big 12, everyone knows that the number of teams that are actually in the league don't have to match the number of the league name.

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Steve Jacob 2 years, 8 months ago

A&M can go to the SEC, but you don't think the LSU and Alabama are thinking about starting their own TV network? Or wondering why they get the same cut as Vanderbilt?

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Daniel Kennamore 2 years, 8 months ago

As silly as conference realignment may seem, the fact that Rick Perry is a candidate for President is the most ridiculous thing in this article.

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