Texas A&M Not Going Anywhere - Yet

The announcement that everyone has been expecting has finally come, but it has an asterisks attached to it.

Most of the speculation about the future of Texas A&M can know lie dormant. Tuesday night the SEC formally approved the entrance of the Aggies to their conference via a unanimous vote. However, they can’t join just yet.

The SEC told the Aggies that they must be free of any legal entanglements before they can join the conference. Turns out they may have an issue with that.

Roughly a week ago, Dan Beebee, the commissioner of the Big 12, sent a letter to the SEC stating that the board of directors had no interest in pursuing legal action against Texas A&M in an effort to keep them in the Big 12. That did not mean that the individual schools in the conference wouldn’t sue.

Early in the day on Wednesday, it was leaked that the Baylor Bears were holding the Aggies back, claiming they would pursue legal action if the Aggies try to leave the conference.

“…we are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in Big 12 Conference…We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC,” Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said in a statement.

Eventually, reports expanded the number that said they would sue to everyone remaining in the conference, but Oklahoma.

The problem for many of the remaining schools in the Big 12 is that they do not know whether they will have a conference next year to play in. Oklahoma has hinted at the possibility that they might leave as well, and go form a super-conference with the PAC-12 and possibly Texas, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech.

Should another team besides the Aggies leave the conference will likely fold. Some of the teams will have no problem joining other BCS conferences, but not all of them. Revenue for those school(s) will be severely affected as a result.

The real issue here is that the Big 12 did not think that the Aggies would actually leave so they did not prepare for the possibility of it. The SEC said prior to the start of the season that they did not want to take just one school and make the divisions uneven. Since the vote was unanimous, what they probably have been doing is lining up another team to enter the conference.

SMU has stated that they are ready to enter the Big 12, but there has been no apparent effort by the conference to scout out potential members.

It would be surprising for the Aggies to be forced to stay in the conference. The amount of money that it would take to pay-off the remaining schools is unclear at the time, but it would not be surprising that the threat of legal action was only a delaying tactic so the Big 12 can get a few potential candidates in place to join the conference.
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