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. T

    Baylor Who?!

    September 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • humanbean

      Exactly. Baylor is delaying the inevitable. If and when the Big 12 goes by by, Baylor will have no place to go. Or may I say, no place of relevance.

      September 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      You know, the Baylor team with one of the finest athletes at quarterback and are poised to make a run at their division this year? The team that racked up half a hundred points on a ranked TCU rose bowl champion team? Don't be ignorant, Baylor wants to keep A&M around because there's a great history in that Texas rivalry and they want to beat up on them for a few years. Baylor could also very well be trying to save A&M from being a perennial loser in their conference, getting trounced by Vandy. Enjoy your eternal 4 win seasons, Aggie fans.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • stephanie

      My daughter, senio in high school, has Baylor as one of her top schools for college. You know why? Texas and FOOTBALL baby!~ Baylor has a chance to dominate....fair is fair.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Well, that wasn't quite the same TCU team that won the Rose Bowl....

      Not even close in fact. Baylor's senior team beat a junior TCU team with a rookie QB.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Seriously, you are touting Baylor's football program??? When was the last time Baylor was in a major bowl? They get one good player and all of a sudden they are a football power? LOL, please don't kid yourself. They'll have an 8 win season, play in a lesser bowl, again, and when RG3 leaves they'll be perennial doormats in college football again. They are only trying to delay the inevitable because they know once the Big 12 dies, Baylor has nowhere to go. Who really wants them?

      September 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scarf

      The Big 12 is toast one way or another. Just a matter of time. When the musical chairs stops, Baylor could be left going hat in hand to SEC as only major conference left to join. PAC 12 ain't interested in Baylor ever and neither is Big 10. If Texas, Tech, OU and OSU end up completing PAC 16, bet on Missouri, Kansas State, Kansas & Iowa State completing Big 16 (now Big 10). That will leave Baylor out in the cold sniveling to remain relevant.

      What goes around, comes around and my advice to Baylor is to be nice or perish to irrelevant conference.

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

      Ha ha ha ha! Really Craig? Remember the one about the sun shining on the dog's...every once in a while?

      September 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bill

    @JN; Umm that's why they get free tuition for the most part which adds up to about 50grand or more depending on where they're going to school.

    September 7, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Matt

    When A&M goes to the SEC, it will be better for everyone... If Baylor does not like that, they should leave the Big 12 as well... The Big 12 is basically Conference Longhorns anyway...

    September 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • TR

      It wasn't last year in football. It certainly isn't like that in most of the other sports.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etbu

      The sec is going to chew ATM up and spit them out , the only big 12 teams thet can compete in the sec is ou @ tu period even when tu u is down which rarely happens .

      September 7, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. resident298

    Where was Baylor when the SWC broke up? I don't remember them crying for SMU, TCU, Houston. Were they not Texas enough?

    September 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • TR

      When the SWC broke up, Texas, Tech, and A&M didn't really want Baylor in the Big 12. Baylor was actually going to go with TCU to the WAC until the Big 12 realized they need another team.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • TR

      Sorry, not WAC. Mountain West.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      TR...you really are clueless. The only reason why baylor got into the Big XII is b/c of Ann Richards and the other baylor alum in the Texas House/Senate. WHere the heck do you get your facts man...good thing you stay away from the espn boards...you'd get eaten alive!

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

    This is really starting to get ugly. The Big 12 can add TCU, Houston, SMU (or Rice, Tulsa, UTEP, La Tech, etc.) to get back to 12. It's not the same as Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M, but it doesn't have to be the end of the conference. Unless the SEC, Big 10 and Pac-12 all decide they want to go to 16 teams, which they all say they don't. But if they do go to 16, it's all over for the Big 12. Then look for the ACC to consume the Big East and the Mountain West to eat the WAC to get to five super-conferences. If the SEC goes after a 14th member right away, it'll be a feeding frenzy.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • TR

      Houston may not care. They are doing good where they are at. Rice, SMU, and LaTech are not going to draw a crowd. That would be like bringing in North Texas. Tulsa is a yes. Tulsa is an developing program.

      What you have to consider with the D1-A conference is television, crowd draw, and merchandise sales. That's what alumni and trustees care about. You can't make it on that, you are in the wrong conference. It's probably why A&M wants to leave. They are getting beat in the press by the rest of the Big 12. TCU rates more covereage right now than A&M.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etbu

      The PAC 12 are after ou@ tu , so if the big 12 goes away tu and ou have a home together , tu and ou wil stay with each other what ever happens, they are joined at the hip. It's all about the money!!!

      September 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      TR...you must be oblivious. You think TCU draws more coverage?! Ha, even with their "ROSE BOWL" season they couldn't sell out their little stadium. A&M set 3 records attendance wise and had 5 national televised games out of their last 6 games. Coverage? Have you not seen ESPN/SI over the last MONTH? All their talking about is A&M and the SEC. The only reason TCU has been brought up is b/c they almost came back to hand baylor and embarrassing loss this last week.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. s. vickie

    A&M doesn't owe the conference or anybody else a thing, least of all the weak-sister crybaby wannabe's like Baylor and Iowa State. The Ag's are free to leave whenever they want, the same as the rest of the schools.

    Instead of suing, Baylor should be thanking A&M for allowing them to be included for the last 17 years. What about the money and prestige they got all that time when they didn't deserve to be there to begin with?

    September 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • TR

      We are going to use this arguement when A&M gets to the SEC. The rest of the SEC is going to think of A&M as the step child and beat it often.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • eric

      someone slept through class when they discussed contracts

      September 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TR

    Baylor with a top 10 womens basketball program. Baylor that beat TCU last week. Baylor, one of the best track programs in the nation and produces a ton of Olympic track athletes. Baylor that has one of the best baseball teams in the Big 12. Looking at all sports, it is very arguable that Baylor has out done Texas A&M during the live of the Big 12 Conference. This move shouldn't be made based on football alone. And besides, Baylor produces a lot of powerful and wealthy lawyers. They could cause A&M a lot of problems.

    I personally don't think A&M has any business moving out of conference until they can say they can beat OU, OSU, Tech, Texas, and Kansas on a regular basis. Last time I checked, they haven't really been a conference powerhouse in football.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotAnAggie

      Nice.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConroeAg

      Then why don't any of the other "real' conferences want Baylor? If they held them in as high esteem as you do, Baylor would have been cherry-picked long ago. Get real bu and get ready for Conference USA where you should have been all the time!

      September 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • FISHPUNT

      Baylor just wants to bodyslam A&M again like they did in 08.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeepinItEven

      and '04...

      September 7, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aggie11

      ...but not 05, 06, 07, 09, or 10... What's your point? 2 wins in the last 7 years is not "body slamming"...

      September 7, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      TR....what has baylor really done? You say awesome track and field, hmmm A&M has won the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in T&F in mens and women's for the last 2 YEARS! Your women bball is a top 10 program...guess what??? Our women just WON the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Decent baseball team...hmmm that's funny A&M has won the Big XII tourney for the last two years and went to Omaha...what did the bears do? And your football team wins a couple big games...goes to their FIRST Bowl game in decades and you think you're hot stuff, A&M has gone to countless bowls in the last decades-have it they haven't won, but their a MUCH DEAPER program than Baylor. As for FISHPUNT and KEEPREAL, so you beat A&M in '04/'08, congrats. Those are your only 2 wins in over 15yrs!!!!! Have fun in the WAC.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      Aggie11...I see ya...I have FOND memories of the Ags BODYSLAMIN' baylor 70-3 my freshman year at Kyle Field...oh the memories.

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

      Football is what brings in the big dollars; end of conversation. Baylor's football program is a joke. With the possible exception of College Basketball, the rest of the sports you mentioned do nothing for college athletics in terms of dollars. It is all about money. That is exactly why Baylor is fighting this; Big 12 dies and they get left in the dark.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      THANK YOU FRANK! Finally some someone w/ some common sense.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      I did some research for you regarding Baylor out playing A&M over all sports for the past 5 years.

      Director Cup Standings
      2007- A&M 18th and Baylor 38th
      2008 – A&M 12th and Baylor 42nd
      2009- A&M 13th and Baylor 33rd
      2010- A&M 6th and Baylor 31st
      2011- A&M 8th and Baylor 35th

      I guess that puts a rest to your ridiculous argument.

      September 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ed

    A&M as a "better cultural fit" in the SEC? Not sure that's something I'd be proud of if I were an Aggie.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • River Rat

      Amen Bro'

      September 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • bfred

      As an alum of an SEC school I disagree completely that A&M is a good cultural fit. It has far more in common with its in-state brethren, Oklahoma, etc. Blowing up the conference is a big mistake.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Someone in the Big 12 making a sarcastic comment about SEC culture is absolutely hilarious.

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

      How true...when was the last time that you Big 12 guys (or Big 10...or whatever...it's so hard to remember since your former conference members jump off the Big 12 like fleas) actually beat an SEC team for a national championship? You can get back to me on that.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • River Rat

      With the exception of Vanderbilt, the SEC student athlete academic standards are suspect, at best. The Big 12, Big 10, Acc,etc. conferences with higher hurdles have elected not to offer scholarships to student athletes that ultimately chose a SEC school.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dont be too hard on the Beaver

    I have an idea, let's create the Jesus league and put all of the religious schools in there. We'll see who's side God is really on ;P

    September 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dont be too hard on the Beaver

    so far no lightning bolts....

    September 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Trish~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hey guys. Will you do me a favor and visit HelpFaye.ORG. A friend of mine is fighting fmor her life. ... Thanks

    September 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bill

    @University of Texas; Huh? It was UT's fault that Arkansas isn't in the Big 12 now. When UT decided to break up the Southwest Conference by leaving Arkansas fully expected to join Texas in the Big 12 but UT pushed for the Big 12 to take Baylor instead thereby setting up the situation the Big 12 finds itself in today. What the Big 12 needs to do is get Arkansas, BYU, Houston and do what they can to keep Texas A&M, then kick UT out.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Etbu

      Really bill , ut is the number one seller in the country , u don't kick out ur bread and butter.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tim

    Bferd; what? Oklahoma an in state rival to A&M? Know much about geography? OU is in Oklahoma, A&M in Texas-not in state rivals.

    September 7, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ryan

    Baylor makes it sound like the Big XII is a TEXAS only conference. Wake up! Preserving the Big XII doesn't mean it's the only way Texas football will continue. Look at what TCU has been doing. Ft Worth is buzzing nonstop. Baylor is like that insecure psycho girlfriend you can't get rid off...and when you try to, she goes CRAZY b/c she realizes no one will like her.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. freddie

    Hey Baylor BOHICA!!!

    September 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
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