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First domino? A&M tells Beebe they will ‘explore conference options’

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When officials from the SEC met nearly two weeks ago to discuss conference expansion, a decision was made — publicly, at least — that the conference would not pursue Texas A&M as a possible 13th member, and for the time being, would stay as a 12-member conference.

Of course, that was nothing more than a PR move to save commissioner Mike Slive from the wrong end of a possible tortious interference lawsuit, not to mention a 14th member (or a 15th and 16th) may not have been decided upon.

The point was the SEC couldn’t “formally” reach out to A&M — not as long as they were part of the Big 12 anyway; the Aggies had to go to the SEC first and get their legal details straightened out before a move could occur.

Consider those details straightened.

Multiple media outlets have reported, to which A&M has subsequently confirmed, that the Aggies have given Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe a formal notice that they wish to “explore conference options“.

That means A&M has, in all likelihood and certainty, taken the first step to try and exit the conference, and could ask the Big 12 to outline the exit procedures “if” they were to leave.

How the Big 12 would respond is yet to be seen.

Here’s a portion of the release from A&M’s website from the perspective of A&M president R. Bowen Loftin:

“As I have indicated previously, we are working very deliberately to act in the best long-term interests of both Texas A&M and the State of Texas. This truly is a 100-year decision,” said Loftin. “While we understand the desire of all parties to quickly reach a resolution, these are extremely complex issues that we are addressing methodically.

“Ultimately, we are seeking to generate greater visibility nationwide for Texas A&M and our championship-caliber student-athletes, as well as secure the necessary and stable financial resources to support our athletic and academic programs,” Loftin added. “As a public university, Texas A&M owes it to the state’s taxpayers to maximize our assets and generate additional revenues both now and well into the future.”

From the letter courtesy of Sports Illustrated:

“Dear Commissioner Beebe:

As you know, the Texas A&M Board of Regents has authorized me to take action relating to Texas A&M University’s (“Texas A&M”) conference alignment. While this letter is not a notice of Texas A&M’s withdrawal from the Big 12 Conference (the “Conference”), we are exploring our options. There has been a great deal of speculation and comment in the media about Texas A&M leaving the Conference, including discussions of other institutions joining the Conference.

If Texas A&M withdraws from the Conference, we want to do so in a way that complies with the Bylaws and is supportive of your efforts to seek a new member of the Conference. We would appreciate your conferring with the other member institutions and outlining for us the process to be followed by Texas A&M should it withdraw from the Conference.

We look forward to hearing from you.”

It should be stated and understood that if A&M decides to leave the Big 12 — this is not a withdrawal letter — they would exit with over 100 percent certainty that a formal invitation from the SEC would follow. In other words, an informal invite from the SEC has likely already been extended.

When such an announcement would come is still uncertain, but for what it’s worth, the Longhorn Network officially launches tomorrow.

We’re not sayin’. We’re just sayin’.

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16 Responses to “First domino? A&M tells Beebe they will ‘explore conference options’”
  1. soflatrojan says: Aug 25, 2011 3:36 PM

    Beebe is holding this conference together with tape.

  2. southernpatriots says: Aug 25, 2011 3:47 PM

    By the SEC president (and also an attorney) getting the SEC member school presidents to vote unanimously on the recent measure, it put the process back in A & Ms hands and informing Beebe is one of the first steps. As they proceed diliberately (slowly) through this process, we know what the eventual conclusion will be–full membership in the SEC with revenue sharing for all and regularly scheduled games again with LSU! We always enjoyed our games with A & M.

  3. thefiesty1 says: Aug 25, 2011 3:50 PM

    The Ags are going to be sorely disappointed when they end up in the bottom third of the SEC West, year in and year out. They’ll be just another Aggie joke in the southeast instead of just Texas.

  4. pricecube says: Aug 25, 2011 3:56 PM

    I am reminded of the old, crass, adage, “shit or get off the pot.” I realize there are all kinds of tricky legal maneuvering going on… and fully expect to be reading news blurbs and announcements like this for the next 6-9 months until an announcement is made. I just wish they could get on with it already. I am also interested to see who else the SEC will go after… I am thinking Mizzou would be good for the Saint Louis and Kansas City markets.

  5. tomosbornesretirementcostjoepaatitle says: Aug 25, 2011 4:22 PM

    It is time for renaming of conferences. Any conference with a number in it does not have that many teams, some more, some less.

    If the SEC does go after Mizzou, it expands way beyond the Southeast.

    We need someone who can lead a task force to come up with some creative and descriptive names for these conferences. My nomination goes to Jim Delaney.

  6. bender4700 says: Aug 25, 2011 4:34 PM

    I agree with Tom>JoePa

    Honestly, realign the whole system.

    What’s wrong with 4 power conferences?

    NW NE
    SW SE

    The over lapping areas is where you split major powers. Each conference would have 5 or 6 major programs in their ranks. The NW would be basically the MWC with Oregon and a few others giving them strength. The SW would be basically So Cal and the Texas schools. The SE would be the SEC with the southern half of the ACC. The NW would be basically Big Ten mixed with the best the ACC/Big East/Big XII have.

  7. bender4700 says: Aug 25, 2011 4:37 PM

    The best part of 4 power conferences. semi-finals!!

    1 seed 2 seed 3 seed 4 seed. Conference champs, then national title.

    It literally blocks out the smaller mid majors, but considering the only ones that would matter would be in the 4 conferences.

  8. Sportsdrenched says: Aug 25, 2011 4:41 PM

    If Texas A&M thinks they’re just as relevant as Texas why don’t they start their own network?

    Joining a conference with Alabama, Florida, LSU, Auburn, & Tennessee doesn’t seem like it will result in “greater visibility”, and it certainly won’t increase their chances of a conference title.

    ..but maybe I’m just a Big 12 Honk.

  9. Deb says: Aug 25, 2011 4:45 PM

    No no no no to Mizzou. I don’t want my alma mater competing in the SEC West with my Crimson Tide. Mizzou belongs in the Big 12. Kick out Texas–they’re the big selfish, self-serving ego-maniacal problem child driving everyone away because it never learned how to share in kindergarten. Or let Mizzou go to the Big 10. Then the Big 10 can be the Big 12, and the Big 12 can be the Big Lonesome Steer.

    When the Aggies come into the SEC, we’ll need an East Coast team for balance. It would be nice to find one that’s actually in the South. Duh.

  10. gorilladunk says: Aug 25, 2011 4:50 PM

    A&M wants “greater visibility for our championship-caliber athletes” Really, I wonder how many eyes are peeled for track and field meets. As far as the football program, how often do Vanderbilt and Kentucky get on TV?

  11. Sportsdrenched says: Aug 25, 2011 4:51 PM

    Well, Missouri was a Confederate State. Kansas in the SEC would be awesomely ironic.

  12. pricecube says: Aug 25, 2011 5:01 PM

    @Deb

    The Big Ten already has 12 teams… adding Mizzou would make them the Big 13. I doubt that is going to happen. Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, Mizzou is going to be one the top candidates for the SEC because their addition would open a large, new, highly populated television market/recruiting ground for the SEC. Virginia Tech would do the same.

  13. lbijake says: Aug 25, 2011 5:22 PM

    Beebe is holding this together with spit and a prayer, baby. Second major defection, Texas running rampant doing whatever they want, Oklahoma wondering WTF. I imagine Beebe keeps a decent bottle of single malt in the bottom desk drawer afraid to answer the phone or read his mail.

  14. pricecube says: Aug 25, 2011 6:24 PM

    @cleanslaton

    Stay classy!

  15. tgaustin says: Aug 26, 2011 12:43 AM

    Just freaking leave already!!!!

  16. tigersgeaux says: Aug 29, 2011 2:27 PM

    tgaustin: We wish that were possible for all college football fans and for them. It would truly save us the drip, drip, drip of slow processes while A & M tries to make sure it gets the best deal, the SEC tries to make sure it doesn’t get sued, and the Big 12 tries to make sure it has a replacement before A & M is fully out the door.

    Maybe we should start taking bets on how many more CFT stories/threads will come before they are full members of the SEC. My offer is 15 more threads. Hope not, but that’s my number/story and I am sticking to it! It is probably closer to the truth than the pre-season college football polls!

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