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. infonomics

    God cried out to Baylor: "Let my people go."

    September 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 50sub4

    There is NO question that A&M leaving the Big 12 (only a year after making a long-term committment to the conference) is profoundly disadvantageous to Baylor. In all of the superconference proposals being discussed, Baylor and Iowa State are completely left out of any conference – other than perhaps the MWC or Conference USA. A&M's unilateral action damages Baylor both competively and financially – as I think any Aggie would agree – but, more importantly, will result in hundreds, if not thousands, of lost Texas jobs and the dissolution of famous Texas rivalries.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jerry

    Baylor knows that the campus isnt moving right? they know that Texas A&M U will always be located in college station, TEXAS, right? This whole idea of Texas universities taking students and athletes packing up and heading to other states is bs. they know they've been the tag along for a long time, and that time is about to be up. And to those who say A&M is no big loss to the conference, then why is there so much resistance to them leaving? in the past 10 years there have been many many instances of schools switching conferences. I don't recall any of them having as hard a time as A&M is having.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Baylor grad

      Come on Jerry. You know ATM's departure from the Big 12 hurts Baylor. If it didn't why would they object? Making the Baylor the "bad guy" for protecting itself is misplaced.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. debby

    If any of the Texas schools were concerned about rivalries, long held traditions, and the ability of non-athlete students to particpate in the games, they would have kept the SWC. When I attended A&M as a student, we could get in the car and reasonably travel to all regular season games. Now it is all about money for the school....i have noticed tuition prices have not declined...

    September 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. BamaFan

    Baylor: cry more.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Buford

    The Big 12 in general and Dan Beebe in particular need to grow a pair and tell Texas that they will either share their TV revenue equally or be expelled from the Big 12. Texas is a cancer that needs to be cured or removed. Had he/they done this last year, Nebraska would have never left. Kick out Texas now and A&M will probably stay. Add TCU and its business as usual. Then it's time to go on offense and get to 14 or 16 first. This is no longer amateur athletics; this is big time corporate business at its nastiest. If Texas, Notre Dame and BYU want to be big shot independents, let’m go for it, but sign a binding agreement to not play them. Corporate business in our current capitalistic world is vicious. If you’re not growing you're dying. If you aren’t sleazy, you’re history. If the Big 12 is going under, at least go down swinging, instead of sucking its thumb in the fetal position; hoping this will all just go away.

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

      THANK YOU!!!

      How many conferences will Texas (Longhorns) sabotage – SWC, Big 12, next? As a graduate and former athlete of the Big 8 – I say boot Texas and bring on TCU and/or BYU and/or Air Force and/or Boise State. I was deeply saddened to see Nebraska and Colorado leave.

      Kill the cancer!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Texas will gladly go independent or join the PAC. Time for all of you to evolve.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • 4Real

      A&M is just like the little kid on the basketball court that doesn't like he is losing so he takes their ball and goes home! So any Aggies that were saying "We are doing what's best for us" can't fault Baylor for doing the same thing. If you do, you are a hypocrite as well as a whiner.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buford

      Toodlelu Bubba .... Don't let the screen door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hmmm

    I'm shocked that there was no mention of Baylor's president, Ken Starr. That man will meddle in anything that might get him some publicity.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Baylor Grad

      As a Baylor grad, I have to say that I agree with you. Ken Starr is a low life. I was sad the day I found out he had become president.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Hook Em Horns

    I dont blame A&m for wanting to leave. They continually have it handed to them year after year. I hope every BIG 12 whips the maroon out of them!! bunch of traitors...Thats treason hangem

    September 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      I couldn't agree more. And as a Michigan and Big 10 fan...I wish Nebraska wouldn't have been traitors as well. The best parts of college football is the traditions and rivalries. These school presidents couldn't care less about that, though. They're soulless. I used to be a fan of both A&M and Nebraska...no longer. Screw those whiny babies. Waaaaa...UT is better than us. Waaaaaaa.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • stoopsrules

      After we stomp the orange out of you, the Aggies will get to stomp you in your white uniforms. It will be much easier to see the grass stains on your backside that way!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jimbo

    What? Baylor claims to care about "the ability of Texas schools to recruit premier student athletes"? Where was this concern for the Texas schools who got left out of the Big 12 when the Southwest Conference broke apart? Cry me a river, Baylor hypocrites.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Bob

    The big 12 is doomed. When its gone 3-4 schools will have to settle for non automatic BCS qualifying conferences and that will hurt their already sub-par programs. Baylor is one of them, no wonder they are making these last ditch efforts to preserve this good thing they have going. They are the ugly girl in the group of hotties and once the hotties find new clicks, they will be all alone with the SunBelt fatties, or WAC fatties.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Baylor grad

    Baylor's not alone:

    It looks like Baylor’s not alone in considering legal action to prevent Texas A&M from going to the SEC.
    Iowa State is now saying that it too is choosing to keep its right to sue either the SEC or A&M for the Aggies’ decision to leave the Big 12.
    “There has been no waiver of any legal rights,” said John McCarroll, an Iowa State spokesman who was speaking for school president Gregory Geoffroy

    September 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. S

    This is all about MONEY. Baylor stands to lose out on tons of cash if A&M leaves. On the flip side Baylor could compete more in a lower conference.
    UT did what was best for UT. Thats all the other schools are doing now too.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Jeepers

    It's strange to me that people care so much about a game that involves a pig skin filled with air. Aren't there more important things going on in the world than watching a bunch of guys give each other head injuries?

    September 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • BetterDeadThanFed

      That's crazy talk!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • boogietime

      Umm no, what are you crazy?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. LSU won twice too in that time frame

    Not just Florida

    September 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. CollegeFan

    Reference loss of rivalries… I don't believe schools are required to be in the same conference to maintain a solid rivalry or even an annual meeting. South Carolina plays Clemson every year and though they were once in the same together in the ACC they have not been in the same conference in 40 years. And I’m pretty sure they have not missed a single meeting during that time. Also, just because two teams play every year does not a rivalry make. You would think all of Texas would embrace this move. It gives Texas the ability to market itself more widely (all across the South-East) and to possibly be dominating in more than one conference.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • boogietime

      Texas A&M is about as likely to dominate the SEC as the federal government is to balance the budget next year.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Agreed. There is a non-conference schedule with plenty of space for these long standing rivalries.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
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