Buoyed by the creation of the Longhorn Network, the speculation surrounding Texas A&M taking their athletic programs to the SEC refuses to die a merciful death.
In a column Monday morning, Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman writes that Texas’ deal with ESPN, announced last week, could create “a spike in Texas A&M’s interest in joining the SEC.” During the mini-expansion apocalypse way back in June, there were many reports connecting the Aggies to the SEC, including one that had the school’s board of regents giving the thumbs-up for the move.
That talk came in the midst of Texas’ discussions with the Pac-10, but both schools ultimately opted for conference “solidarity” and remained in the Big 12.
The new UT network, however, has caused the talk to surface once again, with the Aggies apparently none too pleased with a development that stuffs even more money into their in-state rival’s already bloated coffers.
“I certainly think it’s going to create some reaction from some Aggies who will say, ‘(The heck with) Texas. Let’s do our own deal,'” a prominent, unnamed Aggie told Bohls. “I don’t think Texas is winning friends and influencing people among their Big 12 brethren. As for the SEC, it may be a lot of noise, but I don’t sense a lot of groundswell from the president or athletic director’s office.”
Bohls went on to suggest that A&M and Oklahoma, which is exploring the creation of its own TV network, could “unite at some point to shift to the SEC, which I think would scoop them up in a second.” The Sooners had been mentioned back in June as potentially having an interest in making their way to the SEC.
Bohls was also told that “A&M AD Bill Byrne may rally the other eight non-Longhorn schools to try to pool their third-tier rights together and package them under the Big 12 name.”
So, yeah, this whole Big 12 alliance thing is rock solid. Nothing to worry about here, commissioner Dan Beebe. Nothing at all.