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. seemstomeguy

    seems to me, the 12th man was a tradition that A&M stole from West Point, which had been using it since they started playing football in 1872. seems to me.

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

      No, they didn't steal it from West Point. It comes directly from something that happened on the field:

      It is a huge tradition at Texas A&M and plays a big role on campus, including the reason why Aggie fans stand during football games.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amused

      Any one else notice that all the raving by Baylor about how great football in the State of Texas is has one glaring omission? That's right-BAYLOR. Shut up, you third tier football school. Let your older siblings (Texas, Texas A&M and OU settle it amongst themselves). You don't have enough of a profile to legitimately complain when someone doesn't want to play in your sandbox anymore. Same goes for Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State, IF Jaxon Heath is correct. Besides which, why would you want to insist on someone staying in your sandbox if they don't want to be there? Afraid of being revealed as a fraud?

      September 7, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lola

      The first recorded instance of the term "12th man" being used is in referring to E. King Gill in 1922 from Texas A&M University. There is no recorded history of West point using or coining the term.

      Seems to me that you should probably get your facts straight before posting.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • humanbean

      Lola, keep holding on dearly to that ridiculous 12th man tradition because that's about all A&M will have to hang their hats on. Good luck being a perennial doormat in the SEC

      September 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pittboy

    Maybe the Big East will take Baylor. Hell, they took TCU. Why not. Iowa State too. Geographically its weird, but not so bad. Each year the teams split with Texas and add Iowa State. Pitt is already playing Iowa this year anyway, and other Big East teams travel. Im all for it.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Husker-Dude

    The great err idiotic state of Texas made their Big 12 bed when they decided that teams in the Big 12 North should have no say in how the Big 12 operated. Add to the that the TV revenues that other conferences (Big 10 and SEC) enjoy and the Big 4 of Texas can all play each other in a round robbin tournament where the winner gets gets an all you can eat meal at local steakhouse.

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

      Couldn't agree more. If they want to be stingy and selfish, they can have a conference all to themselves. No one likes playing with a bully.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      The Great State of Texas and the Big 12 Conference are two entirely different things. Aim your insults more carefully please.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. crushanaggietodayearlyandoften

    What do they call Interstate 610, the beltway around Houston? The Aggie Hurricane Evacuation Route.

    All roads lead to Baylor, all dirt roads lead to A&M.

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

      No, all dirt roads lead to your momma.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • urdumb

      Loop 610 and "the beltway around Houston" are two different guy.

      btw does anyone think that a team sporting an 18-101 record in the Big 12 deserves to have a voice?

      September 7, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Houston Native

      I have lived in Houston my entire life and you evidently know nothing about this fine city, but 610 and Beltway 8 are two completely separate roads that never actually intersect, because they are both loops around the city. Also, noone has ever called them by that name. Thank you for trying to be humorous though.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MindBlowing

    What the BCS needs to do is take away the Big 12s automatic Bowl game and give it to MWC.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. University of Texas

    Hey Baylor,

    Texas here. Sorry you had to witness that little flap with our girlfriend in Bryan. But, she's gone now. It's ok. We're gonna recruit Arkansas back here. And maybe we can get Colorado, TCU and Nebraska to come back as well. The Big12 will rise again. This time we'll do it with real football rivalries ... Texas vs. OU, OU vs. Nebraska, Baylor vs. TCU. The crazy girlfriend is gone. She's not coming back. Good riddance.

    Let's play football!!!


    September 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ClassOf2010

      You evidently paid no attention to Nebraska and Colorado's reasoning behind their exits. They were tired of being in an UNEQUAL conference. Texas pushes their weight around to run the Big 12, and now people are tired of it. Noone has stood up to Texas until now, so I understand the inability to grasp the situation and deal with it properly, but please make an attempt at some form of intelligence when speaking about the future of the Big 12.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. donewithcollegeball

    There goes the SEC, now that they are getting schools from outside the southeast. What will the conference be called then and why isn't vandy getting the boot?

    September 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • IronicPenny

      Vandy is as SEC as it gets...

      September 7, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amanda B. Wreckenwythe

      Because the other SEC teams still want to have guaranteed victory for their homecoming games.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • EB

      Because the SEC needs Vanderbilt to raise their conference average GPA to 2.5. Without them it'll be a 1.1, 1.35 tops.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JaxonHeath

    Nice reporting...will you now go back and correct your errant story? NO BIG 12 SCHOOL WAIVED ITS RIGHT. Baylor was the first to ISU, KU, and K State have notified SEC that they will not waive right. Leave it to CNN to get it wrong!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      Hi JaxonHeath, go ahead and read the letter I linked out to in the 10th paragraph of the story. I didn't report any school waived its right. The Big 12 commish said it was in the conference's best interest for all schools to waive those rights. So, no error. As usual, CNN's reporting is correct. Thanks for reading and commenting, though!

      September 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dusty Ranch

    Who broke their commitment??

    "A key part of Texas A&M's decision to remain in the Big 12 earlier this summer was the commissioner's commitment that Texas A&M would receive a minimum of $20 million annually in future conference distributions," A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said in a statement. "We remain committed to the conference and fully anticipate that the Big 12 will honor its commitment to Texas A&M. "

    The San Antonio Express-News reported in today's editions, citing an unnamed A&M official, that the Aggies were considering legal action. If that failed, the school might consider leaving for the Southeastern Conference, which courted it this summer, the paper said.

    Per Chuck Carlton, Dallas Morning News, July 29, 2010

    The Aggies suffer from memory loss.....and from their very own pledge – an Aggies word is as good as gold....fools gold.


    September 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Fred

    Can't blame Texas A&M. They would be a fine addition to the SEC. This goes back to Univ of Texas getting their own network and not sharing the revenue, and pushing their weight around to rule the Big 12. Nebraska got tired of it and left, now goes A&M. If Oklahoma goes and take OK State with them, then the Big 12 is over. It would just be Texas and the schools that cannot beat Texas. Suddenly that Longhorn network does not look so valuable. I would not be suprised if this is all about forcing Texas to share the proceeds of the Longhorn network with the whole confernece.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • boogietime

      Shoot, Texas lost to Iowa State last year. Texas is not 1/2 as good as they think they are.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      HA! UT can push their weight around. Especially when they are the most marketed and merchandise selling college in the US. As far as A&M goes. This past year has been the first year that they have even really done anything significant in the Big 12. A&M moving to the SEC; the only thing upsetting about that is that they will no longer be the root of most jokes here in Texas. I Say good ridden, all they do is cry about how they don’t get treated fairly any ways. Right now, the Big 12 better keep its eyes on Baylor.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephen

      Boogietime!!! I agree and I'm a huge Longhorn fan. GG needs to be benched and Colts brother needs to be playing. Till then, they will have problems! We like to call it the Chris Sims effect.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jake

    Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas will join the Big 10 making it the Big 16 (There are actually 12 teams in the Big 10)

    September 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Husker-Dude

    Jake is a genius – Colorado is in the PAC 12, so I doubt they will be moving to the Big 10 anytime soon.

    September 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Marathon Sweetheart

    I'm a student at Texas A&M right now... when my professor announced this in class, everyone was outraged! Baylor needs to get over it and find a way to make it without us. Texas is doing it, Baylor needs to as well!

    September 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • tigger

      Don't be so naive. Texas A&M is doing what is best for themselves so why shouldn't Baylor? It's everyone for themselves right now, with Texas setting the tone. The Big 12 conference has become the circus sideshow of college football, smart of Nebraska and Colorado to get out when they did.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alex

    More ignorant bluster coming from Texans. Should ANYone wonder why the country doesn't want Perry, here is a great example!!

    Texas blows. . . .

    September 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    The reason Baylor is making a big deal about this is because without the Big12 they lose all credibility athletically and might have to go to a non BCS conference since no one will want them. If texas AM leaves for the SEC all the other schools will follow to other conferences leaving Baylor alone looking the MWC or WAC to take them in. This is all for survival for Baylor. I really feel no matter what Baylor tries to do the Big 12 is dead. Texas, Oklahoma, texas tech, and Oklahoma state are going to the PAC 16. MIssiouri, Kansas, Kansas St, and Iowa st. are going to the BIG10. Texas AM to the SEC and where does that leave Baylor? Maybe Big East or MWC or WAC. No a good position to be in.

    September 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
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