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. Jonsie

    Baylor has never been able to compete in the Big 12 football conference, nothering against Baylor, they are just too small for the conference. They need to let it rest.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bosko

      Neither have the Aggies. They will be dogmeat in the SEC.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jordan

      Umm, you obviously are not old enough to remember the Aggies being a dominant team in the 90's. The Aggies are not going to be dogmeat in the SEC, because the SEC is the best conference in the nation and being an EQUAL partner in that conference will allow for better recruiting. Though it may be a selfish decision, Baylor is not free of making selfish decisions of their own. "Protecting Texas football rivalries" my ass. They jumped at the chance to leave their SMU, TCU and UH rivalries when the Big 12 came along and have never looked back. This is God coming back and giving them what they deserve. As Christians, we should all understand this.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Keith

    this is just delaying the inevitable, that A&M is gonna be the SEC practice squad....give them a year and they'll be complaining about how tough it is in the SEC....they're not all that bright as most of us in Texas already know....the SEC will soon see that they're ot all that either

    September 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ken

      Using your post as a guide, I am guessing that you are not that bright yourself. Check your spelling and grammar before you attempt to make fun of someone else's intelligence, genius.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      They are currently the #8 ranked team in the nation – ranked higher than many members in the SEC right now. How will that make them a practice squad?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rev

      Three things:
      1. Please come down to College Station and repeat that post to The Core. I would love to see if you are brave enough to say that to someone's face. People get really brave behind a computer screen.
      2. You insult our intelligence while revealing that you do not have any.
      3. You are from Texas according to your post, and obviously not from Texas A&M. You do realize our football team got a 'W' against every team in Texas last year, right?

      So we have learned three things from your post:
      1. Think before you speak/write.
      2. Have someone "brighter" than you double check your grammar.
      3. Do your research before you banter with opinions.

      Gig 'Em! :)

      September 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Austinlon

      Hey Rev... It's "Corps", not "Core".

      September 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • SECwelcomesA&M

      Hey Austinlon: It's kind of pitiful when your only comment is a spelling correction. Thanks for adding so much to the discussion.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dukk

    It's going to be EASY to pound UT one more time! Gig 'em

    September 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. d

    More importantly, who is the 14th team? Its driving me nuts to know. No way the SEC invites AM without having the 14th already set to go.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sonny chapman

      Va. Tech. The SEC gets the D.C. TV Market to go along with the Dallas/Houston Market.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    You done ticked off the Baptists...............and they're flush with legal money.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Baylor Grad

      Ok, that was funny. LOL

      September 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. William

    Texas schools screwed up the Big 8 and they are doing it all over again to the Big 12. All Texas schools suck.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • boogietime

      Don't forget Nebraska and Colorado. Since when did it become ok to poach teams?

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

      Crybaby. Stop wetting your pants.

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

    I dont have a dog in this fight but the powers that be will regret the day these rivalries cease to exist. Does Texas A&M vs Ole Miss or S Carolina or MIss State really get your heart pumping? How about Oklahoma vs. Oregon or Wash State?

    September 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • John Jameson

      LSU vs. Oregon seemed to draw a fair amount. I am willing to beat the Alabama vs. Penn St. does well this weekend.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John Jameson

    By draging out A&M's move to the SEC, Baylor is pretty much killing any chance they had of staying or getting into a AQ conference. The Big12 should have let A&M move on, the acted quickly to replace them with a quality program such as BYU.... Dragging it out only causes the conference to look weaker and weaker, which may force OU, and therefore OSU, to jump the sinking ship

    September 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bears

      Oklahoma was already planning to leave and OSU was looking last year. I suspect all Baylor is doing is looking for a payout. This is just payback from last year when f'ing aggies wouldn't agree to stay in the Bug 12 without a payoff. They got it, from Baylor and others, now they are getting paid back for their greed.
      They will get to leave but it will cost em. They are gonna get whumped in the SEC but the school will make huge bank. That's all the schools care about anyway. Rivalry? only for tv dollars. They are all wh0res

      September 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • stoopsrules

      "That good old baylor line, we're 40 points behind. We're gonna lose another game, our team's a waste of time. The coach calls out the plays, while round us church bells chime. But all those prayers won't mend the holes, in that good old baylor line."

      September 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NotAnAggie

    Let them go. A&M will fare even worse in the SEC than they ever did in the big 12. Yeah, the Longhorn network is BS and the other schools don't like living under UT's shadow, but to throw a fit and leave the conference? What are you going to do about your school/fight songs in which the lyrics are solely about UT? I have no idea why all the Aggies I know are so excited, but whatever. They're obnoxious anyway. Maybe this way I won't have to hear about A&M's quasi-decent football team anymore.

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

      You mean like the reference to the fresno state bulldogs in the cal poly fight song? You get over it.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotAnAggie

      Good point, Beav! You sure showed me! Now it isn't stupid at all because a completely insignificant school to this argument has the same thing!

      Nope... still stupid.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • SECwelcomesA&M

      You have no idea why Aggies are excited? Really? Ever heard of the SEC? No? Well, they're pretty good. Even my UT friends will admit a degree of jealousy.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Otio

    Wasn't Baylor the school that refuses to allow TCU into the Big-12?

    September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Baylor grad

      Yep, and the same team that beat them Friday night.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. akahn

    Keep the crappy Big 12 league as it is (with 10 teams). Don't pollute the SEC with one of them and don't let anymore of them pollute and screw up the Pac-12. Nebraska to the Big 10 is good, and Colorado to the Pac-12 is fine. But no more please or it'll just make the SEC and Pac-12 flooded with more boring Big-12 teams...

    September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Baylor grad

    The Aggies are no different than UT and their Longhorn Network. What is surprising to me is ATM's disregard for tradition or more directly their high regard for the $$$. This is about money for everyone. UT, ATM, OU, BU. College sports is the new home to professional athletics. Our society has placed the almighty dollar as the idol we should all serve. Why would the NCAA and our universities be any different? Make as much as you can while you can, right?

    September 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • SECwelcomesA&M

      Why would Baylor be any different in placing the almighty dollar as "the idol we should all serve"? Maybe because it's a Christian school?

      September 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Texas Pete

    Stick it to A&M! Don't let them leave for a penny less then the $30 million contract breaking penalty they agreed to.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Andrew

    Baylor wouldn't be in the Big 12 if it weren't for Ann Richard's political handout. If they wanted to keep the Texas football era together, they should have spoke up when the Southwest Conference disolved.

    They're a better fit in the Mountain West. They need to stop letting their ego get in the way of their brain, because their ego makes them look stupid.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bears

      It's all about the bank dimpstick. People like you don't understand the deal. Why do you think the SEC won't take them without a waiver? Because they are making it aggies problem. Aggies gonna pay. The move will happen unless congress gets involved.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • SECwelcomesA&M

      Well said Andrew.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aggie Hater

    So let me get this straight every school in the big 12 can fight for their best interest and when Baylor does it we are "crying" about it? And i thought the floating heads were biased.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • jimbo

      They agreed not to contest it, now they are threatening to contest it – that makes them liars. Or, in biblical terms "bearers of false witness."

      September 7, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • SECwelcomesA&M

      Yes – you are "crying."

      September 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
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