At least for now, it appears the heavily rumored move by Texas A&M to the SEC will not happen. Again, at least for now.
Following a special meeting/teleconference of the conference’s chancellors and presidents — all but one of those officials took part in the meeting — called for Sunday to discussion the addition of A&M as the 13th member, the SEC has released a statement that, in essence, slams the brakes on the Aggies-to-the-SEC speculation that’s been rampant for the past five days. In the statement from Florida’s Bernie Machen, Chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors, the conference indicated it will not add any school or schools as their 13th or 14th members.
The door was, though, left open for future expansion that would potentially include the school in College Station.
“The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment. We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion. No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M.”
So, where does this leave A&M? For the here and now, it would appear the school will be forced to tuck tail and return to the Big 12 for the foreseeable future.
It’s unclear if a Board of Regents meeting, with one agenda item being “Authorization for the President to Take All Actions Relating to Texas A&M University’s Athletic Conference Alignment”, scheduled for Monday will go forward as planned. Additionally, the Higher Education Committee of the Texas House of Representatives has a hearing scheduled for Tuesday to discuss A&M’s future conference affiliation. As is the case with the Monday meeting, it’s unclear if this one will go off as scheduled as well.
Our semi-educated guess as to this somewhat surprising development is that the SEC is waiting to pull the trigger on adding A&M until they have a 14th school locked down. Additionally, there could be some legal issues with A&M breaking away from the Big 12 that has caused the SEC to pull back the reins on any move to expand.
A&M is expected to release a statement at some point Sunday addressing the news coming out of the SEC.
UPDATED 5:31 p.m. ET: Here’s a mini-update from Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News, with word that the Board of Regents meeting scheduled for Monday is still expected to take place.
My understanding is this is simply part of the (convoluted) legal process of A&M bolting the Big 12 for the SEC – that it must be documented that A&M courted the SEC, not vice versa, to avoid potential lawsuits. The A&M regents are still expected to hold a teleconference on Monday to discuss “conference alignment.”