As the A&M train barreling its way from College Station toward the SEC’s Birmingham offices shows no signs of slowing down, the first indications coming from the southern side of the college football landscape that the Aggies may indeed be on the move have surfaced.
According to MrSEC.com, as rock-solid a source for football news in that conference you’ll find anywhere, the SEC has called for a special meeting Sunday to discuss the expansion issues that the conference is reportedly facing. All 12 of the conference’s chancellors/presidents will be involved in the meeting, although at least one may not be physically present and would participate instead via a conference call.
The website notes that it’s unclear if this meeting is simply a fact-finding mission of sorts or if a vote will be involved. Based on the smoke coming out of one part of Texas, the latter may be the case by the time the weekend rolls around.
This move to a special meeting by the SEC, if it does go down as reported, would continue what has been a whirlwind last 24 hours generally, and the last 12 or so in particular. Just today, the Higher Education Committee of the Texas House of Representatives announced a previously unscheduled meeting for Aug. 16 to discuss matters “pertaining to higher education, including collegiate athletics.” A short time ago, and in what was obviously a preemptive move by the school, Texas A&M posted a notice of a special meeting that will take place one day earlier; one of the items on the agenda? “Authorization for the President to Take All Actions Relating to Texas A&M University’s Athletic Conference Alignment”.
It’s believed the A&M Board of Regents at that meeting will vote unanimously to give permission to President R. Bowen Loftin to accept/pursue an invitation to the SEC. To show just how far down the fast track this has come in less than a day, that it’s to the point where Loftin will in short order likely be handed the keys to move his athletic department to a new conference, the agenda of the regents meeting that will be held Monday was originally scheduled for Aug. 22.
The SEC speculation, however, has not been limited to A&M.
Today, both Florida State and Virginia Tech have surfaced as rumored possibilities for an expanded SEC. While officials from both schools have denied those reports, Chris Level of RedRaiderSports.com is reporting via Twitter this afternoon that “[a] high ranking Texas Tech official confirms to me that the SEC is in talks with Texas A&M and an ACC school.” The specific name of the ACC school involved was not named by Level, but it wouldn’t take too great of a leap in logic and deduction to suggest that either the Seminoles or the Hokies are somehow involved.
While some have dismissed the talk of either school moving to another conference, the smoke is sufficient enough that the ACC’s commissioner felt compelled to release a statement addressing the speculation.
“As I’ve said previously, we’ll continue to be mindful of the collegiate landscape and what’s best for the ACC and its member institutions,” John Swofford said in the statement. “With that said, I’ve received no indication from any of our 12 Presidents that they have any intention of being affiliated with any conference other than the ACC.”
Slowly but surely, the timeline for an expanded SEC by way of an A&M defection has become compressed, going from 2012 to Aug. 22 of this year to now where we’re at the point where we could very well know something definitive in the next 72 hours or so. Simply put, it’s to the point where the only pertinent question regarding the Aggies is whether they will be the only domino, or merely the first.