Southeastern Conference officially opens doors to Texas A&M

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 5:16pm
Staff reports

Texas A&M is on its way to the Southeastern Conference — almost.

Bernie Machen, the chair of the SEC’s presidents and chancellors, announced on Wednesday morning that the league unanimously agreed to accept Texas A&M as its 13th member.

He also said that prior to the league’s vote on Tuesday, the SEC learned that one member of the Big 12 “was considering legal action” if the Aggies left.

Since July, reports had surfaced that Texas A&M wanted to join the SEC. On Sept. 1, the Aggies officially announced they were leaving the Big 12 after the 2011-12 school year.  

“After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on Sept. 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met [Tuesday] night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC,” Machen said in a statement. “We were notified [Tuesday] afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure.

“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 Sept. 2, 2011.”

Several reports have indicated Baylor is the dissenting Big 12 school. If Texas A&M does land in the SEC, the league would be the first BCS football conference to have 13 schools.

The move also could trigger a snowball effect on the membership and alignments of many of the FBS's 10 other conferences. Schools such as Missouri, Florida State and Clemson have been rumored as possible candidates to join the SEC and comprise a 16-team “super conference.”

“We are certainly pleased with the action taken [Tuesday] night by the presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference to unanimously accept Texas A&M as the league's 13th member,” Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said in a statement on Wednesday. “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 Big 12 Conference. These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on Sept. 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC.”