A&M Set To Bolt Big 12 To Join Southeastern
There has been a lot of Hullabaloo and a couple of Caneck! Caneck! in the past week about Texas A&M joining the Southeastern Conference.
And maybe a Whoop! or two.
And this is before any official word of the Aggies leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC.
Not sure if A&M will change the "Aggie War Hymn" once they do say, "Good bye to texas university, so long to the orange and the white."
Will they replace it with arkansas university and so long to the red and the white? I don't think louisiana state will fit nor the purple and the gold.
But it appears the big move will happen. SEC presidents are meeting today and the A&M Board of Regents has scheduled a Monday get-together.
There are some questions whether the SEC presidents will vote to accept A&M. According to the
New York Times, an SEC official said that the addition of A&M was not a certainty, putting the chances the presidents could vote against the addition at 30 to 40 percent.
One concern is finding a 14th school for the SEC. There has been speculation about Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. There was also talk of Missouri, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. And also talk of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia not voting to allow any of their in-state brothers into the party.
Another concern is whether A&M can break its contract with the Big 12. The remaining 10 teams committed to staying together last summer and announced a television contract with FOX worth more than $1 billion last April.
"They have a contract now," an official told The Times. "We're very sensitive about being part of breaking a contract. What we asked them to do was to go settle their issues and not have us be on the table as the agent of causing them to leave."
But it appears all the dominoes will fall into place and cause another upheaval in the college conference landscape.
There are pros and cons to the Aggies heading East. There are a lot of pros for the SEC.
The SEC's interest in the Lone Star State has long been known. The geographically widespread conference has only one top 10 TV market (Atlanta at No. 8; Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., at No. 13 and Miami-Fort Lauderdale at No. 16 are close). But if A&M joins, there are two huge markets in Texas (No. 5 Dallas-Fort Worth and No. 10 Houston).
One can hear the folks in Birmingham already preparing for TV negotiations.
Also, A&M brings academic excellence to the SEC. Only two SEC schools out of 12 are members of the Association of American Universities. Vanderbilt was admitted in 1950, while Florida gained entrance in 1985. Texas A&M has been a member since 2001.
The AAU (not the athletic league) is an association of 61 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada.
Membership in AAU is by invitation and is based on the high quality of programs of academic research and scholarship and undergraduate, graduate and professional education in a number of fields, as well as general recognition that a university is outstanding by reason of the excellence of its research and education programs.
By contrast, the Big 12 has four other members besides A&M -- Missouri (1908), Kansas (1909), Texas (1929) and Iowa State (1958).
Will A&M continue to maintain the academic entrance standards for its athletes or go with the SEC flow?
Of course, this is about athletics, more specifically football.
The allure of playing in college football's current glamour conference is tempting.
There are positives for the Aggies, the passion of the SEC fans are similar to the maroon-clad fans. And the incentive of playing in the SEC could help recruiting. But it would also open the door for the SEC to invade the Lone Star State and scoop up recruits.
A more difficult conference is awaiting.
Instead of facing two national powers each year in Texas and Oklahoma, A&M's SEC West buddies would be Alabama, Auburn and LSU (all have won national titles since the Longhorns captured the championship in 2005). Then there's Arkansas, Mississippi and Mississippi State. There are the crossover games with Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, etc.
A&M has won only one Big 12 football championship since the conference began play in 1996 -- winning in 1998. They also played in the title game in 1997.
Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992. The Razorbacks have zero football titles (they have been in three championship games, though).
There's also a league that pushes the envelope and the whole mailbox in recruiting. As Auburn alum Charles Barkley once said in the SEC, "if you ain't cheatin', you ain't trying." There are always scandals and rumors of scandals in the league.
As far as the other sports, SEC basketball is mainly Kentucky, but the conference has tremendous programs in baseball and softball, two sports A&M fans care greatly about. Of course, A&M does have the top-flight women's basketball program that just won a national championship as well as the track and field teams of back-to-back-to-back titles.
None of the A&M coaches have commented about the move, nor has the athletic director. So we don't know their thoughts.
The fan base is certainly excited and that is always good.
The scuttlebutt is the Aggies are upset with the Longhorn Network. The Big 12 said the issues with the LHN have been addressed.
After the second consecutive year of flirting with the SEC, the Aggies have to go or the league won't come calling again.
However, it would be sad to see century-old rivalries with Texas, not to mention Baylor, end.
Thanksgiving won't be the same.