And now the legal processes are beginning to be implemented in the likely divorce between Texas A&M and the Big 12.
The Aggies took the first step toward shifting their conference affiliation last week when the school issued a notice to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe indicating they were intent on exploring all options for a future home. Additionally, and in a more subtle way, it asked the Big 12 what the guidelines were associated with a potential move.
Earlier today, the Big 12 responded with a letter to A&M that reportedly “outlines the withdrawal procedures according to the financial provisions of the Big 12 bylaws and mutual waivers of legal claims.”
In other words, the letter expresses how A&M, the SEC and the Big 12 can avoid a tri-entity legal cage match. The full letter hasn’t been released yet (that we know of), but if we’re able to get our hands on it, we’ll definitely post it.
In the event that A&M joins the SEC in 2012 — and we’ve had plenty of reasons to believe that’s still the goal — the Aggies could be asked to relinquish at least 90 percent of their conference revenue payout to the Big 12, which is somewhere in the ballpark of $30 million.
Chances are, though, that number will be negotiated.
Also up in the air is, once again, when the Aggies plan on making a move, if* a move is coming. According to A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, who has been given complete control over this potential exit, that decision could come sooner rather than later, despite previous statements to the contrary.
(*note: sorry, we still have to say that)
“I certainly appreciate the discussion among the Big 12 presidents/chancellors and the expression of their desire for Texas A&M to remain in the conference,” Loftin said in a statement. “We all agree that Texas A&M is an extremely valuable institution; thus, it is incumbent upon me, as the president of the university, to ensure that we are in a position to enhance our national visibility and future financial opportunity.
“While this is a complex and long-term decision, it is not our intent to prolong our conference exploration for an extended period of time.”
And it shouldn’t be. Texas A&M has made clear their feelings on the Big 12, and barring some radical culture change in Beebe’s office (or a legal roadblock), they’re not going to change their mind. Likewise, the Big 12 has already put together a short list of replacement candidates, so it’s easy to see where their focus lies.
Now, it looks to be that sorting through the financial consequences of a split is the next — and perhaps last — item on the agenda for both parties.
UPDATED 8:24 p.m. ET: Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com reports that multiple sources have said A&M will formally announce a move to the SEC tomorrow (Tuesday). As Brown always concludes, stay tuned on this one.