Texas A&M and Oklahoma Moving to the SEC?

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Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:46 pm

Texas A&M, Oklahoma would fit right in with SEC

Published: Friday, August 12, 2011, 7:22 AM
By Tommy Hicks, Press-Register


In this Nov. 25, 2010 file photo, Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman claps for his team prior to an NCAA college football game against Texas, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
It appears more and more likely that Texas A&M will soon be a member of the SEC.

Take a moment to let that soak in. Now take another moment and consider the possibility the Aggies might be joined by Big 12 brother Oklahoma.

Timing is everything, and it may favor commissioner Mike Slive and the SEC.

Unhappy with the Big 12's concessions to keep Texas in the league -- especially the perceived advantages of the Longhorn TV Network -- other Big 12 members have been more open to consider moving to another conference.

For Texas A&M and perhaps Oklahoma, the perfect option would be to join the SEC. Count me among that number.

It's a win-win situation for all concerned, except, of course, the (not so) Big 12. The SEC won't be viewed as raiding schools from another conference. A&M and Oklahoma would be seen as protecting their best interests. Joining the SEC makes more sense than joining the Pac-12 or another league.

A&M has many reasons to seriously consider the jump. Its football tradition is strong and its fan base would fit nicely in the SEC. Rivalries would quickly be built with Arkansas, LSU and perhaps even Alabama, which shares with the Aggies the history and legacies of former coaches Paul "Bear" Bryant and Gene Stallings.

In the SEC, Oklahoma would also find strong competition, added fertile recruiting areas, a solid financial base and a national reputation.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has been quoted as saying his conference is taking seriously reports of A&M's possible interest in the SEC. He has also been quoted as saying there is a "significant number of Aggies supporters who are interested in going in that (SEC) direction."

Consider the impact of such a move. Auburn would probably move to the SEC East but keep Alabama as a permanent opponent. In fact, consider the craziness that would surround an Alabama vs. Auburn SEC championship game one week after the Iron Bowl.

A&M and Oklahoma with Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State in the West; Auburn with Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky and Vanderbilt in the East. A 14-team SEC that is even stronger. TV deals and revenue-sharing that protect each member.

And it could happen.
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Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:03 pm

Texas A&M move to SEC hinted by Rick Perry, but spokesman says its premature

By Devin Brown Topics Trending Now

(CBS/What's Trending) - Rick Perry is stirring up more than the GOP primary race. The former Aggie yell leader is stirring the pot in the ongoing controversy between Texas A&M and the Big 12. Perry stated that "conversations had been had" regarding A&M's realignment from its current home at the Big 12 and the Southeast Conference (SEC). But, a spokesperson for the school said Perry spoke too soon, and no deal has been made.

As an influential alumnus from the Texas school, the Governor seems to have the most insight into the possibility of A&M's move. Perry however might not have his facts entirely straight, that or he has some insider information. Texas A&M's spokesperson, Jason Cook, who said to Orangebloods.com, "There's no agreement in principle, nothing." Things won't be official for a while as talks haven't begun between presidents and atheletic directors, but Perry's statement raises concerns that the move could be a very real possibility.

The school feels the Big 12 division favors its biggest rival in the conference, the Texas Longhorns of UT. The team recently signed a contract with ESPN giving the team its own network, and even petitioned to have high school games air on the network giving them a clear advantage in draft picks. High school participation on the network, however, has been handed a one year moratorium in order to alleviate draft concerns from the league.

This isn't the first time that Texas AM has threatened to leave their current conference either. Last summer, Colorado and Nebraska left the Big 12 for the Pacific 10 and Big Ten respectively, the conference almost disbanded in its entirety. It took commissioner Dan Beebe convincing Longhorns' officials and administrators from other schools that the conference would remain viable with its reduced numbers, securing another year of the Big 12.

With the new network further raising the Longhorns' visibility, A&M has a decision to make. Should it stay in the Big 12 where it is in the shadow of the more profitable and regarded Longhorns, or makes its move the SEC where it would face harder competition from schools like Alabama and Florida State?

In a statement from Texas A&M the school did not deny its interest in a possible move: "President Bowen Loftin is committed to doing what is best for Texas A&M, not only now, but also into the future," the statement read. "We continue to have wide-ranging conversations regarding all aspects of the university, including both academics and athletics."

If A&M does leave as Perry has suggested, then that would leave an inbalance in bother leagues: SEC with 13 teams and the Big 12 with 9. One or more would have to flip flop in order to even out the conferences .Either way, dissatisfaction for the team is a reality and something is going have to change in order for the leagues to stay viable.
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Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:09 pm

Texas A&M, Florida State eyed for expanded SEC

4:35 PM, Aug. 12, 2011

Written by
Bill Vilona
bvilona@pnj.com


With Texas A&M on the verge of jumping into the Southeastern Conference, a move that would send ripples throughout all conferences, there is growing speculation on Florida State's future.

Could the Seminoles bolt from the Atlantic Coast Conference, where they have been members for 20 years, to join the Aggies in a 14-team SEC?
It's definitely become a topic.

When reached Friday by the Associated Press, Florida State president Eric Barron admitted he's heard the rumors, but sidestepped the issue by saying the ACC was a "good conference." He did not rule out that FSU has no interest in leaving the ACC.

Meanwhile, media outlets in Texas are reporting SEC representatives are scheduled to meet with Texas A&M officials on Saturday. A meeting of the Texas A&M Board of Regents is set for Monday. Reportedly, the Board of Regents have already agreed for the school to leave the Big 12 Conference and join the SEC.

If it happens, the SEC would have 13 teams, presumably with seven teams in the West Division. The league wants at least 14 teams and FSU is being eyed for consideration.

The Seminoles were courted by both the SEC and ACC in 1991 and opted to join the ACC when then-league commissioner Gene Corrigan was aggressive in his pursuit of the Seminoles.

Now, it appears FSU is thinking of a new opportunity.

Both the Palm Beach Post and Warchant.com -- a site devoted to FSU athletics -- reported today that school officials have discussed potential SEC membership.

"This is real," an unnamed source in FSU's athletic department told the Post.

"All the higher ups are just pretty much waiting around to see if we're asked,” an unnamed source told Warchant.com. “And if we are, we're going. The coaching staff is on board as well.”

For SEC membership, an invited school needs at least eight of the current members to vote for approval. That doesn't seem to be a stumbling block in the case of Texas A&M or Florida State.

The SEC has several other options, aside from Texas A&M's inclusion. The league could look at Clemson or another ACC school, or seek to try and lure Oklahoma from the Big 12.
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Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:15 pm

Andy StaplessNSIDE COLLEGE FOOTBALL
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Texas A&M-to-SEC talk heating up; will realignment dominoes fall?


Texas' Higher Education Committee has set a meeting to discuss Texas A&M

Body can't officially do anything, but controls funding and can apply pressure

If A&M moves, it could be the first domino in a new wave of mass realignment

For the second consecutive year, a university's flirtation with another conference has become a political football in Texas.


The Higher Education Committee of the state's House of Representatives has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, Aug. 16. The intentionally nebulous topic: "...to discuss matters pertaining to higher education, including collegiate athletics." Translation: Will Texas A&M leave the Big 12 for the SEC? And what does that mean for the rest of the schools in the state?

"This is to make sure the legislature has a chance to ask questions about whether any conference move is in the best interests of the state of Texas," said committee chair Dan Branch (R-Dallas). Branch said the meeting might not even be necessary, but if it is, he "would anticipate hearing from A&M and possibly the SEC." Wednesday, Texas A&M did nothing to dispel talk of a move when it released this statement: "President (R. Bowen) Loftin is committed to doing what is best for Texas A&M not only now, but also into the future," the statement said. "We continue to have wide-ranging conversations regarding all aspects of the university, including both academics and athletics."

The committee scheduled a similar meeting last year when it appeared Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech would join Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado in a move to the Pac-10. The meeting was canceled after the Texas schools -- along with the two Oklahoma schools -- elected to remain in the Big 12.

What can the legislature do to stop a move? Officially, nothing. Unofficially, legislators can apply pressure because they control schools' funding. And in a state the size of Texas, plenty of schools have voices in the legislature, and everyone wants to know how a move would affect their school. "Those implications have a broader effect on the schools in our state," Branch told SI.com on Friday morning.

The SEC sent an emissary in early 2010 to gauge Texas A&M's interest. At the time, Texas A&M also was in discussions with the Pac-10. In June 2010, the school had three options -- join the Pac-10, join the SEC or remain in the Big 12. After the school elected to stay in the Big 12, Aggies fans who had supported a move to the SEC deluged athletic director Bill Byrne with invective.

That sentiment lingered within the fan base and the anger bubbled to the surface again after Texas announced plans for The Longhorn Network, a joint venture with ESPN and IMG College that Texas hopes will gain the same wide distribution as the Big Ten Network. Those plans included broadcasting high school games involving high-profile recruits. (Thursday, NCAA president Mark Emmert said that wouldn't be allowed.) Those plans also included the possibility of Big 12 games being broadcast on the network. The Longhorn Network has already approached Texas Tech -- and been rebuffed -- regarding the Longhorns' football game against the Red Raiders. No one in the Big 12 wants to play on the Longhorns' airwaves. Least of all Texas A&M, which already must fight a perception that it is the little brother of the behemoth in Austin. A look at The Longhorn Network's contract with ESPN should terrify any conference rival.

To those who wanted Texas A&M to move east, the marriage of the nation's most successful football league in recent years and the Aggies would allow Texas A&M to forge a new identity. They believe recruits might look differently at A&M if the Aggies could sell a chance to play in the SEC. For the SEC, the attraction is obvious. The state of Texas has 25 million people and two top 10 television markets (Dallas and Houston). At the moment, Atlanta is the only top 10 television market in the SEC's geographic footprint. Having a member in Texas would allow the SEC to negotiate even more lucrative media rights deals than the ones it signed in 2009 with ESPN and CBS, which are worth $3 billion over 15 years. Though the SEC negotiated "look-ins" into those contracts that should allow for more money to reflect market changes, the recent deal signed by the Pac-12 suggests the SEC would be worth more now even as currently constituted.

Those who oppose a move to the SEC suggest Texas A&M -- which last won the Big 12 football title in 1998 -- would fall even further behind competitively in the conference that produced the past five national champions. Instead of facing national powers Texas and Oklahoma, Texas A&M would have to beat national powers such as Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida to win a conference title.

If Texas A&M does move, it could be the first domino in a new wave of conference realignment. The SEC likely wouldn't stand at 13 schools, and the nine schools remaining in the Big 12 would have to decide whether they wanted to remain together or seek other conferences.

Last year, after the realignment dust settled, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott predicted the peace would be temporary. Scott said the idea of 16-team superconferences excited television networks -- whose money drives such decisions. "What you couldn't predict is what fan reaction would be, what media reaction would be and how the TV executives who would ultimately have to stroke some big checks would react," Scott told SI.com in July 2010. "That was the part that was very pleasing. I got contacted by every major TV network in the country. ... Something like that is bound to happen at some stage."

What's amazing is that the tectonic plates could begin shifting again so soon.
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Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:53 am

Texas A&M officially tells Big 12 it intends to leave conference

By The Associated Press

Will the 12th man at Texas A&M be a part of the 13th team in the SEC? (The Associated Press/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON -- Texas A&M has told the Big 12 Conference it plans to leave the league by July 2012 if it is accepted by another conference.

The move, which had been expected, may set off another round of conference realignment in college sports. The Aggies have made it clear they want to join the 12-member Southeastern Conference.

University President R. Bowen Loftin notified the Big 12 in a letter and said it departing the Big 12 "is in the best interest of Texas A&M." He said he hopes the move can be amicable and presumably hopes to negotiate a reasonable exit fee.

Texas A&M had been in the Big 12 since its founding in 1996. Loftin says the school wants greater visibility nationwide as well as "the necessary and stable financial resources" need to support athletics.
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Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:18 pm

Good move for Texas A&M. Not so sure about OU. Neither one of them are actually in the Southeast. I believe once they come in, Vandy should depart for the ACC or Big East or Conference USA, where they can compete.
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Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:20 pm

I will say this.....there is no place or venue in the USA that can compete with Texas A&M as it pertains to tradition, stadium and student body during a game. It is against tradition to sit down at the game...at least the students. Oh, there are bigger stadiums but none that have the fans so close and vertical. When the opposite human waves begin and the yells start, it is magical.
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Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:57 pm

Don’t expect Vanderbilt to leave the SEC. Why would they? The SEC is the richest conference in America. All 12 teams in the SEC share in the revenue from lucrative TV contracts and bowl games. It’s all about MONEY and the SEC makes plenty. For this reason alone expect Oklahoma to be next to show interest in joining the SEC to enjoy the MONEY. Also, Oklahoma could extend their high school recruiting into the SEC in a bigger way.

Here is my prediction of the SEC moving to 16 teams with the following teams being added:

SEC WEST
Texas A&M
Oklahoma

SEC EAST
Florida State
Clemson
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Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:19 pm

Gene Stallings: Big 12 won't survive once larger conferences soon emerge

Published: Thursday, September 01, 2011, 3:42 PM
By Jon Solomon -- The Birmingham News


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Former Alabama and Texas A&M football coach Gene Stallings believes the Big 12 won't survive long-term.

Stallings, who served on the Texas A&M board of regents until last March, said today he thinks the Big 12 can last until serious negotiations occur nationally over the emergence of four larger conferences. Texas A&M announced Wednesday it plans to leave the Big 12, and the university is expected to land in the SEC.

"I think a few years from now it's going to be four major conferences, maybe 20 teams in each conference, championship game, and a playoff with those four (conferences)," Stallings said after speaking at a United Way luncheon in Birmingham.

"I think that's sort of the direction we're going in. Personal opinion, I don't think the Big 12 is going to be one of those four. I do think the Southeastern Conference will be one. So we may be aligning with somebody now that we may be trying to do something with later on."

Stallings said the Big 12 remains a good conference with Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, but the losses of Nebraska, Colorado and now Texas A&M hurt. "I don't think they can afford to lose Oklahoma," Stallings said.

Stallings said a couple years ago Texas spent time with the Pac-10 trying to get Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado and one or two other schools to join the Longhorns by moving West.

"I didn't think Texas A&M had a lot in common with the people on the West Coast," Stallings said. "I felt like we had a lot in common with people of the Southeastern United States. My particular convictions were, 'Let's try to keep the conference intact. If the conference is going to disband, I'd like to see Texas A&M go to the Southeastern Conference.'"

The Big 12 didn't disband. But Stallings said Texas' new ESPN-owned Longhorn Network changed the equation.

"It's not going to be a level playing field," Stallings said. "Twenty-four hours a day you can turn on the TV and hear something about the University of Texas. They're talking about trying to televise some high school football games. There again, that's to their advantage. That's fine. If that's what they want to do, then I think Texas A&M ought to do what they want to do."

Texas A&M's break from the Big 12 could jeopardize its annual rivalry football game against the Longhorns. The game first started being played in 1894.

"There's gonna be some hard feelings between people," Stallings said. "The (Texas state) legislature perhaps gets involved in some of the issues. That's the reason I wanted to keep the conference intact originally because A&M has been playing Texas over 100 years. That's a great traditional game. All of a sudden is it not going to be anymore?"

As for who else could join Texas A&M in the SEC, Stallings said he believes Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and perhaps Notre Dame are good fits. "Y'all probably know more about it than I do," he said.
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