Posted on: August 29, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 12:07 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Although Texas A&M doesn't know for sure that it's going to leave the Big 12 for the SEC -- wink, wink -- the school is going through all the necessary steps to make it happen. First it let the Big 12 know that it's going to explore its options, and now it sounds like the school is negotiating it's exit fee from the Big 12.
According to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, the Big 12 is looking for something in the neighborhood of $28 million from Texas A&M if it wants to leave. Which is an incredibly expensive divorce. Understandably, Texas A&M isn't looking to pay quite that much.
In another tweet from the Austin American-Statesman's Kirk Bohls, the Aggies are negotiating to pay something between $10 and $15 million. Roughly half of what the conference wants.
To put it in perspective, when Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Big Ten last year, the Cornhuskers paid just over $9 million. Colorado paid about $7 million. So, as you can see, it's pretty understandable that Texas A&M isn't looking to fork over more than three times what Nebraska paid and four times what Colorado paid to leave.
How much will the Aggies end up paying when they -- I mean if! -- they leave the Big 12? Who knows? Much like any divorce, the lawyers will be the true winners.
Posted on: August 26, 2011 2:27 am
Edited on: August 26, 2011 10:12 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
In the latest chapter in the ongoing flirtations between Texas A&M and the SEC, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe (pictured at right) has responded to Texas A&M's Thursday announcement that the Aggies were exploring a switch in conferences.
Beebe should be careful here, as the only high-level unaffiliated football programs out there are Notre Dame and BYU (no offense, Army or Navy), and saying the conference is "poised to move aggressively" implies that there's a willing candidate already in Beebe's mind. Yes, that almost certainly could mean SMU, who's practically begging for a BCS invite, but if the Big 12 adds Houston (as has allegedly been mentioned by the conference as a possibility before), the Conference USA brass might have the grounds to suggest that the Big 12 was admitting to interfering with Conference USA business, and that could mean the threat of legal action.
That said, it could also mean something much less litigious, like adding BYU and/or Notre Dame in football only, and either gently phasing in the other sports (as both schools have full pre-existing conference affiliations outside of football) or leaving it a football-only arrangement entirely.
Not only that, there are probably plenty of expansion candidates off the metaphorical radar with which the Big 12 has had some sort of contact, and maybe Beebe has the sense that they're privately amenable to a conference change. Again, we're talking about off the radar, so it would be reckless to speculate (see: flat-out guess) on possible schools, but Beebe would be derelict in his duty as a conference commissioner if he didn't have a contingency plan for any type of expansion -- especially one based on how willing the other schools would be to move to the Big 12.
We'll say this, though: Texas A&M is still not even an applicant (much less a member or invitee) of the SEC yet. That's likely to change, but it hasn't yet. So if Dan Beebe can wrangle four of his conference members away from a potential Pac-16 in 2010, then somehow brink Texas A&M back from the bring of "SECession," he's got to be the biggest miracle worker among conference commissioners. Alas for Beebe, miracles are miracles for a reason, and this one's probably not going to happen.
Posted on: August 25, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2011 5:56 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Texas A&M released a statement on Thursday saying that it had informed the Big 12 that it intends to explore the possibilities of a new conference.
“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 Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin in the statement.
“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.”
"I support President Loftin and our governing board’s desire to explore all options regarding the future of Texas A&M University," Texas A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne added. "We all want what is best for the Aggies. I’ve met with all of our head coaches to keep them informed and we all remain excited and optimistic about the future of Texas A&M Athletics.”
Now, this does not mean that the Aggies have left the Big 12 just yet, just that they're officially letting the Big 12 know that they're looking to.
It's the "I think we should see other people" of the college football world.
As we're all well aware, Texas A&M hopes to join the SEC, and the next logical step will be for the school to apply to the conference as its thirteenth member. While the SEC has made no formal invite to Texas A&M and has gone out of its way to make that point that the SEC didn't court the Aggies, you have to think that Texas A&M has a pretty good idea of what the SEC's response will be for the school to let the Big 12 know if its plans.
When the SEC will make a public decision on whether or not it will accept Texas A&M as it's thirteenth school, we can't be sure. It could be next week or a month from now, all we really know is that today's move by Texas A&M made it a lot more likely that the announcement will come at some point.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:56 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 2:06 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Big Ten announced on Friday that despite all the whispers about 16-team superconferences, anyone expecting the Big Ten to make a seismic shift in the conference alignment landscape is probably going to be left waiting. As the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) noted in a statement, the conference is "not actively engaged in conference expansion at this time, or at any time in the foreseeable future, barring a significant shift in the current intercollegiate athletic landscape."
That significant shift might be just the SEC swelling to 14-16 teams, but considering the usually staid nature of the conference when it comes to realignment, one or two defections down south might not be enough to get the ball rolling for Jim Delany and his member schools.
Here is the statement issued Friday, in full:
This is a pretty unequivocal statement, provided the conference alignment landscape stays roughly the same. Whether the Texas A&M-to-SEC move (provided it actually happens) sets off a chain of more defections and additions -- or remains more isolated like the Nebraska and Colorado moves of 2010 -- will likely determine whether the Big Ten stays set at 12 or whether this statement will be rendered quaint by the new state of college athletics.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 12:43 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 12:44 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
After the Big 12 narrowly escaped its demise last summer, the remaining ten schools in the conference came to a gentlemen's agreement about staying together and keeping the Big 12 alive. Now that Texas A&M seems intent on leaving for the SEC, we can all see how binding that verbal agreemement between the schools last summer was.
Which is why Texas Tech president Guy Bailey feels that the conference needs to come up with something a bit more solid. As in signing your name on a sheet of paper and agreeing to a contract solid.
"It's incumbent on us to be aggressive in assuring the future of the conference," Bailey told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "If not, we're going to be in the same boat again next year or the year after.
"We do have to do get something to secure our future... and that probably means putting your name on the dotted line. Doing that in a legally binding way is pretty important."
In other words, this way when a school decides it wants to leave the Big 12 in the future, it's going to cost that school quite a bit of money to do so.
As for where the conference is now, Bailey said that the Big 12 needs to plan on Texas A&M leaving, and that means finding a school to replace the Aggies. The list of candidates are the same ones you've heard before: BYU, Houston, Notre Dame -- that noise you hear is Jim Delany laughing and saying "good luck with that" -- Air Force and TCU.
I'd say the most likely candidate to eventually join the Big 12 would be Houston. There's no doubt that Houston would like to move up from Conference USA to a BCS conference, and the state of Texas would love to add another one of its schools to a BCS conference as well. The concern with Houston is the school's athletic facilities, though the possiblity of both the basketball team and football team playing in the professional venues of the Houston Rockets and Houston Texans has been proposed as a solution.
Posted on: August 15, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 11:49 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Monday was an eventful day for developments on Texas A&M's conference affiliation. The Aggies appear to be at least one step closer to joining the SEC, but Texas A&M's president didn't set a timetable on change, nor even confirmed that Texas A&M would be leaving the Big 12.
-- The Texas State House Committee on Higher Education canceled a hearing scheduled for Tuesday that would have involved officials from Texas A&M, the SEC, and the Big 12.
Committee chair Dan Branch had said that making any conference moves without meeting with his committee first would be "inappropriate," but according to Kirk Bohls, Branch postponed the meeting because Texas A&M had yet to "complete anything." Branch added that the hearing may re-convene at a later date.
On Sunday, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met and announced that the conference was happy with its 12-team alignment for right now, and "took no action" in regards to unhappy Big 12 member Texas A&M. The underlying message from the SEC was clear: the ball is in your court, Texas A&M, not ours.
To that end, the Texas A&M Board of Regents met on Monday, and as expected whent the agenda was released, has authorized Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin to leave the Big 12 or do whatever else he sees fit with the school's athletic conference alignment. Loftin is now expected to make an entreaty to the SEC.
Loftin told reporters after the meeting that the SEC has yet to invite Texas A&M, however, and when asked if there was a timetable, replied "Not for me." He also said that staying in the Big 12 still remained an option, and that any move to the SEC would be a "lengthy" process.
-- According to CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd, NCAA president Mark Emmert contacted various conference CEO's to discuss the realignment situation.
Here's the statement issued by the office of Mark Emmert to CBSSports.com:
The NCAA did not elaborate on the discussions had between Emmert and the CEOs, nor did it specify which ones were contacted (though it's probably not hard to guess). The New York Times had a report about that call, however, in which Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said, "I think people have asked him to make some phone calls. He’s doing exactly what he should be doing.”
Posted on: August 14, 2011 4:05 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:44 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The SEC has just finished its scheduled meeting of its presidents and chancellors, and unfortunately for secession-minded Texas A&M fans, the conference is staying put at 12 teams -- for now. Here's the full statement released by presidents and chancellors chair (and Florida president) Bernie Machen:
What Machen didn't say is that Texas A&M won't be invited to the SEC; if the chancellors and presidents didn't want the Aggies to come, the statement would likely have been worded with a bit more finality. As it stands, the conference is clearly leaving the door open to expansion.
RapidReporter Brent Zwenerman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2011 12:22 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
If you've spent any time on Twitter or message boards lately, then you've probably heard the news that the SEC has expanded to a 64-team league at this point, as schools from all over the country have been rumored to be joining the league. Realistically, though, it appears that there is only one team that is serious about joining the league, and that would be Texas A&M.
Of course, just because a team is interested in the SEC that doesn't always mean the SEC's interest is mutual, but according to a report in the New York Times, the SEC will meet in a secret location on Sunday to discuss the possibility of bringing Texas A&M into the conference.
Pete Thamel reports that a high-ranking SEC official has told him that the league presidents will meet at a secret location on Sunday to discuss the move, and that there's a "30 to 40 percent chance" that the SEC presidents will decide against A&M joining the fold. The reason for that is because the SEC has no plans to expand to just 13 teams, and it would need another school to complete any expansion.
“We realize if we do this, we have to have the 14th,” the SEC official told the paper. “No name has been thrown out. This thing is much slower out of the shoot than the media and blogs have made it.”
In other words, that report you heard on Saturday morning about Texas A&M, Clemson, Florida State and Missouri all joining the SEC to form the first super conference is a bit premature. Missouri AD Mike Alden told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that there was "nothing" to the report and that Missouri isn't talking to anybody.
The Big 12 athletic directors are scheduled to have a conference call with commissioner Dan Beebe on Saturday afternoon with every AD except Texas A&M's Bill Byrne expected to be on the call. However, before you read too far into that, remember that Byrne is currently in Europe at the moment.