SEC votes to include Texas A&M; Baylor cries, Whoa, partna!
Aggies celebrate their win over the rival Texas Longhorns last year. It's unclear if they can yet celebrate a move to the SEC.
September 7th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

SEC votes to include Texas A&M; Baylor cries, Whoa, partna!

The votes are in, but it appears there is still at least one hurdle in Texas A&M University's lengthy endeavor to join the Southeastern Conference.

The school said a week ago that on June 30 it will would vacate the Big 12 Conference, of which it has been a member since before the 1996-97 season. There was rampant speculation that the Aggies would join the powerhouse SEC, but President R. Bowen Loftin last week said only that he hoped the exit process was "as amicable and prompt as possible."

On Wednesday, the president issued a statement saying he was pleased the SEC presidents and chancellors voted Tuesday night to accept A&M as their 13th team.

"However, this acceptance is conditional, and we are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in the Big 12 Conference," Loftin wrote. "These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on September 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC."

Seems like the process will be neither prompt nor amicable.

Sports Illustrated is reporting that fellow Big 12 member Baylor University is threatening legal action, temporarily delaying the move, which is contingent on each Big 12 team waiving its right to a legal challenge.

The conference's members had agreed not to sue over the move, but a source told the magazine that Baylor broke ranks. In a statement, University of Florida President Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC presidents group, said the conference would not accept the Aggies until the legal issues were resolved, according to Sports Illustrated.

"The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure," Machen said. "The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011."

On that date, Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe wrote SEC Commissioner Mike Slive to say Big 12 members had agreed not to take legal action against the SEC so long as the conference publicly announced A&M's admission by Thursday at 6 p.m. ET

"It is in the best interests of each of our conferences and our member institutions of higher education to waive any and all legal actions by either conference and its members resulting from admission of Texas A&M into the SEC, as long as such admission is confirmed publicly by September 8, 2011," the letter said. (Read the entire letter as a pdf)

An undated statement on Baylor's website slams the proposed move by Texas A&M and casts it as a bane on Texas' rich football history. From pee wee football to Friday Night Lights to the proud college traditions of Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech to the NFL's Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texas, "football in Texas is more than a passing interest, it is a part of the fabric of this great state," goes the statement.
It also asserts that the departure of Texas A&M, and possibly other Big 12 schools, threatens 100-year-old rivalries, as well as the ability of Texas schools to recruit premier student athletes. The statement also mentions educational concerns: "Will Texans watch as our most precious resources — the great minds of the next generation — are exported to new conference institutions?"

It calls on Texans to implore university leaders "to stop this madness that will lead to the dissolution of the Big 12 and the end of an era for Texas."

"Texans must stand up and call the leadership of the University of Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech to clear-headed thinking about the state's future. Texas' flagship institutions of higher learning are the guardians of the state's future — their loyalties must first be to Texas and to her citizens," the statement reads.

If Texas A&M were to join the SEC, it would join arguably the best college football conference in the land. The Auburn Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide and Louisiana State Tigers have all won the BCS National Championship in the past five years, and the Florida Gators have won it twice in that time.

Though the Aggies haven't won a football championship in more than seven decades, A&M is no slouch in athletics. The school's track, softball, golf, equestrian and women's basketball teams have all won national championships in the past 25 years. Also, the football team enjoys such a fervent following that the fans are regarded as the squad's "12th Man."

There were signs Wednesday of other concerns about the Aggies' potential exodus, namely its effect on the Dallas economy and one of football's most colorful rivalries. Emboldened by A&M's potential move, one of the Big 12's most prolific members is reconsidering its commitment to the conference, CNN affiliate WFAA reported.

The Oklahoma Sooners, presently ranked the top team in the country, said last week that they had also been approached by other conferences. If Oklahoma leaves (speculation suggests the Sooners could join the Pac-12), it could put the kibosh on the Oklahoma-Texas showdown known as the Red River Rivalry.

The teams have been playing annually since 1900 and at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas since 1932, WFAA reported. The Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated that in 2007 alone the game injected more than $30 million into the local economy with $18 million of that staying in Dallas County, according to WFAA.

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Filed under: College football • Football • Sports • Texas • U.S.
soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. Nobody you know

    Baylor sounds like a lover scorned.

    I don't care let A&M be a doormat for the SEC.

    Hook 'em.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • stoopsrules

      We will still get to pound your @$$ one more time!

      September 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Longorhns fans don't care about A&M leaving SO hard. And I actually don't blame Baylor for their little act of defiance, but it is pointless and won't change a damn thing.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joel

    Baylor will not be part of the future megaconference 64 teams selected (16 per conference, 4 conferences).

    Baylor and Iowa State will be left out.

    That's what this is all about.

    Millions of dollars lost by Baylor.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Richard

    Baylor's just afraid that when the Big 12 dissolves that they won't be able to get into another conference. What a bunch of cry babies.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • SECwelcomesA&M

      True!

      September 9, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Freddy

    Dear Baylor,

    Your record against TAMU is 67-31-9. Keeping them in the conference would do you no good. Now that you have had your week in the spotlight, please go back to the bottom and feed.

    Reguards,
    Legitimate Contenders

    September 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • boogietime

      So Baylor won 2x as many games as A&M? Sounds like A&M is running away with its tail between its legs.

      Regards (without the u),
      A&M Thrasher

      September 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. slug

    Baylor is a 2nd rate university with a so-so football team that no conference other than the Big 8, er Southwestern, er Big 12 will have. Baylor is a petulant child trying to keep a quality program from expanding its horizons. Stay in Big 12 and rot!

    September 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Smarter not Harder

      lol 2nd rate? While they may not be the best at athletics, they do have the best academic program in the Big 12.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • bfred

      "Second rate"?? What are you talking about? It's the best academic school in the conference (and no, I didn't go there)!

      September 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      I will agree that Baylor isn't second rate, but they DO NOT HAVE THE best academics in the Big XII. Take a look at the rankings for the last 20yrs...texas and A&M have the highest rated programs for universities in the US (Public and Private). Washington journal just posted a&m at 26...5 slots higher than texas.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • SECwelcomesA&M

      Well said ryan.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JN

    This article states in no uncertain terms that money is the major concern with these schools. I have no problem with that, but then at least admit that the student athlete benefits the least. They can't even have a dinner given to them by a booster, can't afford to take their girlfriends to a movie, can't allow a faculty member to buy them a coke and a burger, etc. BUT they bring millions to their schools and communities. Unfair?

    September 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Baylor Grad

      A lot of these guys get a partial or full scholarship. College is expensive and football can pave the way into a good college. They don't get paid, but a discount on schooling or free schooling is a far better deal. And some of those guys that are extremely lucky will be able to go into a pro career.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • bfred

      Even non-scholarship players (who presumably enrolled planning to pay the full freight) get free food, tutors and other benefits. A full ride is worth at least $50k per year, not bad for a 19 year-old. Plus, you know, the educational benefits.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kay

    It's about money pure and simple. Greed is so ugly.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. hoop_er

    statement to be released by Big 12 later today will confirm that Baylor isn't the lone ranger here. "'Multiple schools are reserving their right to pursue litigation' on any possible move of A&M to SEC," says David Smoak of 1660, ESPN Central-Texas.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • hoop_er

      8th paragraph down confirms Baylor isn't the only school, yet they were singled out before anything was confirmed today. AP: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/ncaa/09/07/texas-am-sec.ap/

      September 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GeorgeBos95

    Baylor – home to the "great" Texas Drama Queens.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Snacklefish

    Hullabaloo, caneck caneck, Baylor.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Steve

    Baylor has used its political clout to insert itself into discussions regarding the big three Texas schools for decades. Why else was it hand picked to join the Big 12 from the ashes of the SWC, leaving SMU, TCU, etc. behind? It's upset that whatever happens will leave them in the "lesser" WAC or MWC and so its crying home to daddy politician for relief.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. KARNAS

    who cares about baylor they can whine just like the whinnie orange and thay 0 u in oklahoma

    September 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Baylor Grad

      Clearly you didn't go to school at BU, otherwise you would actually be able to spell and use correct grammar.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    @Freddy:

    ROTFLMAO!
    Thanks for the laugh; I needed it!

    September 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. TexasAgFootballFan

    Baylor is a great school with rich history. I wish they would honor their original comment to not stand in the way of what A&M needs to do. This is not a decision that is against Baylor it is just what is in the best interest for Texas A&M's future. Baylor needs to be making plans for thier future and not waste money and time on this.

    I think all Aggies would agree that we wish wish the best for Baylor's future. When it is all said and done Aggies will remember the 100+ years of rivalry and not this last ditch effort to make this move difficult for the Aggies.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Baylor Grad

      statement to be released by Big 12 later today will confirm that Baylor isn't the lone ranger here. "'Multiple schools are reserving their right to pursue litigation' on any possible move of A&M to SEC," says David Smoak of 1660, ESPN Central-Texas.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • bfred

      I don't see how you view all of this as anything other than the predictable result of UT's arrogance. It treats the rest of the conference schools like they owe it something and they finally call its bluff. Congrats on blowing up the Big 12, Texas, hope your network was worth it. And I'm sure the studends will be thrilled their university's resources are being spent sending ALL its teams (there's more than football, you know) to California, Oregon and Washington for conference games.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Catherine95Ag

    I understand Baylor's position and their concern. They stand to lose a lot of revenue and possible recruits with the loss of the Big 12. However, their time and energy would be much better spent on finding a new conference instead of trying to stop our inevitable move to the SEC.

    Gig'em Aggies!!

    September 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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