Now that it’s official that A&M will become the 13th member, it’s absolutely certain the SEC will at least add a 14th member, and probably soon (ESPN):
The member presidents of the Southeastern Conference unanimously voted to accept Texas A&M Tuesday night as the league’s 13th member, but the Aggies’ official acceptance has been delayed by the potential threat of legal action.
The SEC’s presidents want assurances that no individual Big 12 school will sue for contractual interference over Texas A&M’s departure. Baylor has not given that assurance to this point, according to sources.
“We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action,” University of Florida president and SEC chairman Dr. Bernie Machen said in a statement released Wednesday. “The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure. “
The only holdup to this becoming official is potential legal action by Baylor, which stands to lose the most of all Big XII members should the conference become defunct, as expected (Yahoo!):
A threat of legal action by Baylor has, at least temporarily, held up Texas A&M’s move to the SEC. The SEC’s presidents voted unanimously Tuesday night to extend an invitation to Texas A&M to become the league’s 13th member, but that invitation is contingent upon all of Texas A&M’s Big 12 counterparts waiving their right to a legal challenge.
A source said Baylor had broken ranks with the remaining Big 12 members, which decided last week to waive their right to legally challenge a move by Texas A&M. In a statement, Florida president Bernie Machen, the chair of the SEC’s presidents group, said the SEC would not accept Texas A&M as a member until the potential legal roadblocks were cleared.
The question for State fans: how will this affect the ACC, and thus, State? Sources indicate that Virginia Tech may be the target for the 14th member, so the dominoes may begin to fall very soon now.
There’s been much discussion on SFN about State promoting itself as a target for SEC expansion. LRM says the ACC should raid the Big XII rather than the Big East; maybe the ACC thinks that’s the right idea.
Dan Wetzel asks if bigger is better (Yahoo!):
To call the proposed 16-member leagues â€œsuperconferencesâ€ is a painful misnomer. Bigger isnâ€™t better for anyone who isnâ€™t getting a bonus based on a television contract. Itâ€™s not good for the athletes, the coaches, the alumni or the general fans.
College footballâ€™s enduring appeal includes history, tradition and regional rivalries, all of which are currently being spit on by the warring conference commissioners and duped university presidents, a group that likes to refer to itself as the â€œguardians of the gameâ€
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops on Tuesday had to shrug at the possibility that the storied Oklahoma-Texas â€œRed River Shootoutâ€ â€“ first played in 1900, usually in Dallas at the Texas State Fair â€“ could cease to exist.
â€œSometimes thatâ€™s the way it goes,â€ Stoops said, noting the decision is beyond his control.
Already the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry, which began in 1894, is in jeopardy. Even schools that wind up safe in a big conference will play their long-time rivals less.
And the impact here on other sports â€“ most notably menâ€™s and womenâ€™s basketball â€“ could be brutal. Essentially the people who think the BCS is a good idea are threatening the fabric of March Madness.
It may be inevitable, but there are very few positives about any of this. Football is football, so the product will deliver in the end, but the people running the sport are trying their best to maim the appeal.
â€œI feel like further consolidation and more stability would be a healthy thing for college football,â€ Pac-12 (or will it be Pac-16?) commissioner Larry Scott said Saturday. â€œRight now thereâ€™s obviously some instability that I donâ€™t think is a particularly healthy thing in certain parts of the country.â€
Nice line, but itâ€™s the consolidation that is causing the instability. The Big 12 was fine until Scott came calling in 2010 in an effort to bolster his soon-to-be negotiated media rights deal. While conference membership has occasionally shifted through the years, there was never a free-for-all like this, one that threatened the very collegial purpose of college athletics.
Looks like the Big XII members are going to block the move…at least until Oklahoma decides its future (ESPN):
Texas A&M’s move to the SEC ultimately would happen if Oklahoma stays put in the Big 12, but until that occurs eight of the remaining nine Big 12 schools will not waive their right to pursue litigation against the SEC and A&M, a source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com.
During Wednesday’s conference call of the Big 12′s board of directors, the source said it was made clear that the SEC was unwilling to accept the Aggies until the rest of the Big 12 schools waived their right to sue. The confusion arose from a letter that Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe sent to SEC commissioner Mike Slive on Sept. 2, in which Beebe stated that the Big 12′s board of directors — not the individual schools — wouldn’t pursue litigation.
“This is the first time to my knowledge that a conference has been requested to waive any legal claims toward another conference for any damages suffered with a membership change,” Beebe said in a statement Wednesday. He added that the waiver “did not and could not bind the individual member institutions’ governing boards to waive institutional rights.”