SEC declines immediate changes, but leaves door cracked open for Aggies
Texas A&M will remain in the Big 12 for now, but the possibility of the Aggies leaving for the Southeastern Conference in the future is still plausible.
The A&M Board of Regents will still meet tomorrow to discuss conference realignment.
SEC presidents and chancellors decided Sunday that they are content “with the present 12 institutional alignment.” However, the statement did not rule out future expansion.
“Future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league,” Dr. Bernie Machen, the chair of SEC presidents, said in the statement.
UH is thought to be an option to replace A&M because it would keep a Big 12 presence in Houston, and because of the ties to former Southwest Conference schools Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech. Like the rest of the NCAA, the Cougars are waiting on the Aggies’ next move.
Brent Zwerneman of The San Antonio Express News suggests the SEC’s move has more to do with legalities and less to do with the SEC’s desire to welcome the Aggies.
Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com reported the Aggies buyout fees to leave the Big 12 could reach $30 million and “possible litigation from the Big 12 with regard to the SEC interfering with Texas A&M’s current contracts with Big 12 TV partners (ABC/ESPN and Fox).”
According to a tweet from the New York Times’ Pete Thamel, “A high-ranking SEC official called today’s statement a way to ‘tap the brakes’ so the Texas A&M can ‘get its house in order.’
In addition to the legal issues created by conference realignment, the SEC would likely also want to find add a 14th school if the Aggies join.