So long, Big XII. Hello, SEC! The pleas and conversations with interim Big XII commissioner Chuck Neinas were unproductive and now Texas A&M will be joining the SEC.
The Southeastern Conference released the news today that Texas A&M will begin SEC conference play for the 2012-2013 season. All that is left for the Aggies is to discuss the details of exit fees they will pay to the Big XII to make the move.
The move unites Texas A&M with former Southwest Conference rival Arkansas. The two shared residency in that conference from 1915 to 1991, when scandal forced the conference to dissolve. Most of the Texas based schools went on to merge with the Big 8 Conference to create the Big XII while Arkansas, along with South Carolina, joined the SEC.
In the official statement released by the SEC it stated that: “Over the course of its storied 78-year history of athletic achievements and academic excellence, the Southeastern Conference has consistently set the standard for the greatest tradition in intercollegiate athletics.
With an ever-changing dynamic to the conference paradigm over the past year, the SEC has again demonstrated its commitment to maintaining its stature as one of the nation’s premier conferences by welcoming Texas A&M University as its 13th league member”, Commissioner Mike Slive announced Sunday.
The addition of Texas A&M increases the number of AAU universities within the Southeastern Conference from two to three. The AAU stands for the Association of American Universities and member universities focus “on issues that are important to research-intensive universities, such as funding for research, research policy issues, and graduate and undergraduate education”.
The announcement today by the SEC either means that Baylor’s threat of suing Texas A&M for leaving the Big XII has stopped or the SEC expects it to stop. Either way the SEC could counter-sue the Big XII for improperly discussing with Arkansas about the possibility of the Razorbacks leaving the SEC for the Big XII. That would give the SEC grounds to sue based on “tortuous interference”.
Texas A&M is one of the best teams the SEC could have added as they offer great tradition, expand the conference’s footprint, bring in new television market (Houston) all on top of being a prestigious academic university. When the SEC expands to 14 teams and who will be the 14th team has yet to be determined.