This has been an ongoing discussion among the SFN community for several weeks, but today Texas A&M has made it official.
Texas A&M had been in the Big 12 since its founding in 1996.
But the school said it will submit an application to join another, unspecified conference. If it is accepted, Texas A&M will leave the Big 12, effective June 30, 2012.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
“I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference,” Loftin, who was authorized by regents to act on behalf of the university regarding conference affiliation on Aug. 15, wrote in a letter to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe on Wednesday.
Texas A&M previously asked the Big 12 to provide an outline of requirements to leave the league and the Big 12 responded earlier this week.
“We appreciate the Big 12′s willingness to engage in a dialogue to end our relationship through a mutually agreeable settlement,” Loftin said in the release. “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.”
Loftin has stated he has no desire for A&M’s “conference exploration” to be “prolonged” but did not offer a timeline for when the Aggies would become members of their new conference.
A few of my own observations:
*We can all recognize parallels between A&M and our own situation. BJD agrees. My personal opinion is that we should do what’s best for N.C. State. The ACC we grew up with will soon look very different, and there’s no reason to suspect we’ll benefit from it, especially if we make the same mistake as last time and raid the Big East (keep in mind, expansion is solely about remaining a viable football presence; basketball is secondary). Regardless, there will be a lot of dissent no matter which course the administration pursues — but other than hating the Flagship, when was the last time State fans were ever united on an issue?
*A few days before the season begins and Texas A&M is one of the headline stories. The timing of this all summer was never incidental. Minimal criticism has been leveled against A&M for trying to be a part of the best conference in college football — would it be the same if we made our own pitch?
*A&M wouldn’t have done this unless they were certain the SEC would accept them. And while I’m impressed by the proactive pursuit by A&M to do what’s best for A&M, I’ve also wondered all along if this will backfire. A&M wants to seperate itself from UT, but Texans exist in their own culture, so the concern would be whether or not this might alienate its Texas base? It’s very possible that the A&M-UT rivalry will end with this move (I’ve seen some commentary suggesting they’d been told to expect this)…perhaps they’re ok with that?
*The SEC may play 2012 with 13 teams, but you can be assured they will eventually expand to 14, and probably 16. Once A&M is officially in the SEC, the next round of expansion will really take off. The Big XII will look to stave off deeper raids by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin — er, Slive, Scott and Delaney — by, first, keeping Texas and Oklahoma, and then expanding to 10 and eventually 12; possible targets: Air Force, Boise State, BYU, Louisville, Notre Dame, SMU, TCU.
*TCU could make things more interesting, because they’re not officially a member of the Big East yet, and without the Texas TV markets, the new Big East TV deal likely wouldn’t be strong enough to prevent deep raids by the Big Ten — er, B1G — and (to some extent) perhaps the ACC; the Big Ten would likely target interested Big XII schools such as Missouri and Kansas, also look to Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers, and maybe even Maryland.
Make sure you peruse several newer items on the main blog, and then head over to the forums.