TEXAS A&M TO SEEK AFFILIATION WITH ANOTHER ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
The big question will be how much it will cost. The Big 12 will first need assurances by their TV partners that the contract will remain as is, since there is a provision in the contract that says the entire thing can be voided. If that were the case, then it’s a safe assumption that the Big 12 would not give TAMU the same leeway they did to Nebraska and Colorado last year. Both schools were on the hook for $30 million but the Big 12 agreed to cut the cost in half.
One the Big 12 exit fees are established and the SEC is officially free of legal fault in the TAMU defection, the SEC is expected to extend the formal invitation.
As for the official TAMU press release…
NEWS RELEASE – August 31, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M University today officially notified the Big 12 Conference that the institution will submit an application to join another athletic conference. Should this application be accepted, Texas A&M will end its membership in the Big 12 Conference effective June 30, 2012.
“After much thought and consideration, and pursuant to the action of the (Texas A&M University System) Board of Regents authorizing me to take action related to Texas A&M University’s athletic conference alignment, I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference,” President R. Bowen Loftin wrote to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe in the letter dated August 31, 2011.
“We appreciate the Big 12’s willingness to engage in a dialogue to end our relationship through a mutually agreeable settlement,” Loftin added. “We, too, desire that this process be as amicable and prompt as possible and result in a resolution of all outstanding issues, including mutual waivers by Texas A&M and the conference on behalf of all the remaining members.”
Texas A&M has participated in intercollegiate athletics as a member of the Big 12 since the conference’s founding 16 years ago. Last season, the Aggies claimed nine Big 12 championships and four national team titles, both of which were school-bests. Since joining the Big 12 prior to the 1996-97 athletic season, Texas A&M has won 55 conference championships, including 32 in the last five years.
Texas A&M finished eighth in the prestigious Director’s Cup all-sport rankings a year ago, tallying its most points ever and leading all Big 12 schools. In the inaugural Capital One Cup, which rates teams’ final rankings, the Aggies were the top-ranking university from the Big 12. The Aggie women finished second with five top-10 finishes, while the Aggie men finished tied for third with five top-10 finishes.
“As I have indicated throughout this process, we are seeking to generate greater visibility nationwide for Texas A&M and our championship-caliber student-athletes, as well as secure the necessary and stable financial resources to support our athletic and academic programs,” Loftin said. “This is a 100-year decision that we have addressed carefully and methodically. Texas A&M is an extraordinary institution, and we look forward to what the future may hold for Aggies worldwide.”
While Loftin did not specify an application timeline in his letter to the Big 12, he previously indicated that he does not intend to prolong the application process for an extended period of time.