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Realignment broke up one of college football's greatest hate-relationships, and the two have spent the last three years eying each other. Let's keep track as they work their way to meeting up again. They will meet up again, right?
Tried to tell y'all. Via r/cfb.
Both the Big Ten and SEC are reportedly interested in perhaps the ACC's flagship school.
With Maryland leaving the ACC, Virginia Tech could have some interest in switching conferences in the future, athletic director Jim Weaver reportedly said. However, Weaver's denied that characterization of his remarks.
It's time for SEC meetings, which means lots of college football coaches saying things on the issues of the day.
The SEC is likely to continue its "6-1-1" model for conference football games beyond 2012.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets joined the realignment rumor convention last weekend, when Ingram Smith reported they'd be among the ACC teams the Big 12 would consider taking in the event of a Florida St. Seminoles acquisition. AD Dan Radakovich is now denying the Jackets have made contact -- Virginia Tech is of course also again denying they want out of the ACC -- but the most interesting comment of his is likely this one:
Radakovich also told fans that the league is trying to develop a bowl game similar to the one that the Big 12 and SEC announced Friday. That game will match those two leagues' conference champions should they not make the expected four-team playoff. He said there is a great desire for the ACC to match up its conference champion, should it not make the playoff, "and play a quality bowl game."
Radakovich mentioned the Big Ten and SEC as potential partners.
Better late than never for that kind of idea, yes?
The ACC won't be able to get the SEC's or Big Ten's champ, of course, as those teams will be committed to the Rose Bowl and this new Big 12 venture, respectively, in the event that they miss the playoffs. The Big East remains available. Winner gets to play its basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden, maybe?
There's also the option to try and pair of the ACC's winner against another league's runner-up, which sounds like the plan the ACC has in mind.
While we wait for the late-summer conference realignment scramble, let's go ahead and prepare ourselves for the best and the worst.
Let's chart the recent history of rumors about the Virginia Tech Hokies making their way to the SEC, shall we? The most recent, of course, comes from ESPN's Chris Low, who was on the Paul Finebaum show Monday, saying, "I can tell you the SEC has their eyes on Virginia Tech."
That wouldn't be a surprise, as the Hokies were believed to be on a short list during last summer's realignment round that produced moves by Mizzou and Texas A&M. They were also among the teams mentioned during the previous year, which didn't result in any SEC moves.
In September, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari listed VPI among three teams he'd like to see added, along with Maryland and Missouri. A month earlier, we attempted to keep track of all the times Virginia Tech was forced to deny SEC rumors, finding at least three times. (It's at least four now.)
Virginia Tech could also be an interesting fit for the Big Ten, if the SEC ends up looking elsewhere. But the Big Ten has more options here, simply based on geography, and the SEC kind of has to move quickly if it wants to expand its borders, as there simply aren't very many more major football programs left on the outskirts of its current territory.
For more on Hokies football, visit Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country.
The ACC's re-upped television deal with ESPN currently projects to average more money per school per year than the SEC's deal with ESPN and CBS. The ACC makes more money than the SEC! That's not counting the fact that the SEC's about to alter its own deals and is apparently building a SEC Network, the Sports Business Journal reports:
That's big news. We'll have to wait and see what that looks like.
As for the latter part, CBS, which gets the SEC's best games (its Tier 1 games), may feel it has little reason to pay very much more for the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri since SEC games already do well enough in those markets, or what have you. CBS is already carried nationwide, so there's no way to expand its footprint, only its ratings in places where it already is.
Think about it -- how many games per year will Mizzou play that will be better than everything else the SEC has to offer that week? One or two, tops?
Still, this doesn't mean ESPN won't pay more, and it doesn't mean a SEC Network won't do very well. But it is very important to note the whole point of realignment -- getting more TV money -- isn't quite as automatic as other conferences made it look to those of us on the outside.
If we're going to follow conference realignment as if it's a sport, we might as well come up with a scoring system.
Which college teams are in which conferences now, and where will they be next year? Not only do we have all 11 conferences in list form, we've got some projections for the future.
WIth the ACC and SEC expansions, the ACC plans to go to a nine-game conference schedule for football, which could put future out-of-conference series in jeopardy. One series feared lost was planned between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers. Thankfully, according to Clemson Athletic Director Don Phillips, that series is still on.
Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips just told members of the Media that Clemson and Georgia will play football in'13 and '14— Will Vandervort (@steelerwill) March 30, 2012
The 2012 SEC schedule has been released, but the 2013 schedule is still a bit up in the air as the SEC will need to modify its scheduling procedures in preparation for the additional teams and conference games.
The ACC plans to move to a nine-game conference schedule once the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers join, jeopardizing many a planned out-of-conference series. For one thing, several ACC teams already play SEC teams as one of their four OOC games, so retaining another BCS series would mean just one cupcake per year. Think of the snacks!
One locally treasured series, the one between the Clemson Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs, will still happen, says Clemson's AD, but it doesn't sound like a sure thing that it'll necessarily happen in 2013 and 2014 as planned. Elsewhere, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are looking to trim two games from their four-game venture with the BYU Cougars, and the Florida St. Seminoles aren't expected to play the West Virginia Mountaineers next year.
Perhaps this is what's inspired Dabo Swinney to propose spring games between two teams, rather than just a one-squad scrimmage. Clemson and UGA fans think of their series as a deep rivalry even though the two rarely get the chance to meet.
Let Kyle King of Dawg Sports break it down by pointing to what happened to the series the last time the ACC expanded:
SEC commissioner Mike Slive met with the Missouri Tigers' KC Tiger Club Tuesday. Dave Matter has the best list of quotes, including Slive shooting down any Longhorn Network-esque concerns and refusing to explain how Mizzou wound up in the East, but this may be the most important note:
Slive: SEC now having look-in talks with TV partners to re-negotiate deals. Says, "I'm optimistic we can make Mike Alden very happy."— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) March 27, 2012
That's Mike Alden, Mizzou athletic director, who like his Texas A&M counterpart is set to get exceedingly richer. Other SEC ADs will only get far richer, not exceedingly richer, as they're all already exceedingly rich.
The SEC's TV contracts included language that would allow the conference to re-negotiate in the event of new teams joining up. With those new teams delivering* at least three very big TV markets, the SEC's set to cash in and show everybody what all this fuss was all about.
* Conference realignment rule: if any sports team is anywhere near any big city, then it's assumed by the people in charge that said city is absolutely insane about the local team and will tune in to watch any game involving the local team. This is the only thing conference realignment is about.
The conference realignment train has cooled for the time being, now that Temple's made its way back to the Big East. Let's take a look at what a fine mess we've all gotten ourselves into.
After South Carolina president Harris Pastides revealed that his Gamecocks and the Texas A&M Aggies would begin a new, cross-division rivalry while the Missouri Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks paired up, it looked like the SEC had found a way to preserve its traditional rivalries while incorporating two new teams. You know, traditional rivalries like Kentucky-Mississippi State and Texas A&M-South Carolina.
Now R. Bowen Loftin, president of A&M, tweets with bowtie not whirling:
Good news for fans of schools with rivalries worth keeping -- Alabama-Tennessee, Georgia-Auburn, and LSU-Florida. Now we'll all just try and wrap our minds around various things such as two schools that may not have ever played each other being declared eternal rivals, the Aggies replacing Texas with Carolina and feeling great about it, and just about the two most distant teams in the conference playing each other every year.
The SEC continues to work through the great scheduling debate of our time, seeking to figure out how to maintain a handful of historic rivalries without pushing to nine conference games, and without making it so teams in opposite divisions never play each other.
It sounds pretty easy!
The latest morsel, from South Carolina president Harris Pastides: the South Carolina Gamecocks and Texas A&M Aggies will become permanent, cross-division rivals. He also indicates that the Missouri Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks will take up hostilities. Arkansas and Carolina had been official rivals since joining the league around the same time, and had generated a little bit of annual interest.
Mizzou-Arkansas will be an instant hit, as they share general geography, bowl history -- and recent basketball history. But Carolina and A&M? Help me out here. I'm having a hard time figuring out if they've ever even played football against each other before.
Pastides expects an announcement within two weeks.
For more on the SEC, visit SEC blog Team Speed Kills.
The Big 12 announced Tuesday that it will withhold $12.41 million in revenue from both the Texas A&M Aggies and Missouri Tigers as part of settlements negotiated between both schools for leaving the conference to join the SEC.
Because of various financial items such as direct payments from the NCAA and bowl payouts, A&M will only end up paying the Big 12 $9.31 million, according to reports to the San Antonio Express News.
Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas was quoted in a statement released by the conference:
"This agreement was accomplished through a collegial, respectful process among the Conference, its institutions, and [Texas A&M University/the University of Missouri] that led to a resolution that all parties believe is fair."
Texas A&M will receive an unspecified amount of money related to the Big 12's new contract with Fox and "certain other concessions," per the release. Missouri, on the other hand, had to waive all claims to benefits from the Fox deal and won't get those "certain other concessions." In addition, MU will pay its share of 2011-12 athletic year officiating costs, something it has done in the past at a price of around $500,000.
The Third Saturday in October and the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry aren't going to save themselves. Time to build a schedule that can salvage the SEC's essential rivalries. Also: Should the SEC scrap its divisions?
Need a refresher on the latest round of college conference realignment as we enter the 2012 football offseason? You're in luck!
With a pair of (reportedly) leaked 2012 SEC football schedules, college football fans can get a better idea of what life will be like in Year One for the fresh meat in the Southeastern Conference. The reported slates for Texas A&M and Missouri slates are online (via TexAgs.com's Billy Liucci and PowerMizzou.com's Gabe DeArmond)
Let's take a look. Initial reaction: Sorry, Aggies.
• Ole Miss
• Mississippi State
• Texas A&M
• South Carolina
• Ole Miss
Missouri gets a nice sample platter of SEC bottom feeders, while Texas A&M welcomes this season's BCS Championship game participants and the team the team they beat out in the SEC West to get there. ... Oh, and Florida is never good, right? I hope the Aggie faithful had fun winning home games in the Big 12.
For the latest news and analysis on the new-look Southeastern Conference, keep up with our comprehensive SEC Expansion StoryStream.
Update: Despite South Carolina's president calling nine games, the SEC has denied:
The two biggest questions left about the Missouri Tigers transition to the SEC were answered on Monday. According to South Carolina's president, SEC schools will play nine in-conference football games per season, as opposed to eight, and the East's Mizzou will play the West's Texas A&M every year in a rivalry game.
The latter ensures all other existing rivalries remain untouched, while the former ... hoo boy.
The SEC receives heckles for its oft-squishy out-of-conference schedules, though around these parts it's clear the in-conference gauntlet makes up for some pastries. Moving to nine games destroys that flimsy criticism, not that the SEC has struggled with strength-of-schedule issues.
It also makes it even harder for a team to emerge unbeaten from the SEC. As the Pac-12 has shown over the years, winning nine times against BCS-conference teams is hard.
(It also means $$$$$$$$$$ for more big regular season games. Though fewer middling SEC teams will go to bowl games.)
Now the big question raised by these answers: which SEC schools will retain rivalry games with fellow power conference schools? Pastides says the Cocks will still play the Clemson Tigers, giving them only two gimme games per year besides, like, Kentucky. Just about every SEC school will have to drop at least one game for each of the next several seasons, and fans of rivalries will have to hope only cupcakes get the fork.
Missouri's officially headed to the SEC East, while Texas A&M will join the West. How will each team fare against its new division schedules, based on recent history?
This afternoon in Columbia, Missouri, SEC commissioner Mike Slive officially welcomed Missouri to the conference for the 2012 season. But, more importantly, he also confirmed that Missouri will join the SEC East and that the Tigers will enjoy full integration into the conference to include a share of revenue in 2012.
The former bit of news likely means that most of the SEC's football schedule for 2012 will continue with only minor alterations; Missouri would serve as an additional divisional foe for the East, and could possibly help the conference reduce the number of inter-division games for each team to two.
The revenue sharing, obviously, is more important. Missouri getting a full slice of the SEC pie from jump street indicates that the SEC likely thinks that it can add a great deal more TV revenue to its warchest with the additions of schools in the lucrative St. Louis and Texas markets.
It was reported earlier in the day that Missouri-to-the-SEC was official, then it was rumored that the school that will become the second-farthest-west team in the conference would join the East division. Those rumors have been confirmed as official, as Marc Weiszer from the Athens Banner-Herald reports the Arkansas' athletic director says it's so.
It's not too surprising a move, considering Missouri's fellow newcomer in the league, Texas A&M, is even farther west, and no original SEC teams were too keen on switching divisions. Though geographically speaking, this is puzzling, in every other way, this makes sense. It's not nearly as confusing as, say, Boise State joining the Big East.
The move will become effective July 1, 2012, at which point Missouri can expect to face South Carolina, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida on a yearly basis.
The Missouri Tigers were officially introduced by the SEC as team No. 14 on Sunday -- Sunday, because this is the SEC, and Mizzou had to be brought before the congregation. The primary question: will the Tigers join the SEC West, which makes geographic sense and pairs them with fellow Big 12 evacuee Texas A&M, or the SEC East, which avoids a whole lot of trouble?
(The secondary question: will the SEC have to go to nine conference football games per team per year just to fit everything in?)
If Missouri joined the West, the Auburn Tigers would have to move to the East in order to preserve any sense of geographic order. The two biggest things at stake there would both be Alabama Crimson Tide rivalry games. As it is, the Alabama-Tennessee game is a protected, cross-division rivalry, and the Iron Bowl is an in-division affair that happens anyway. Moving Auburn would jeopardize the Third Saturday in October.
Andy Katz reports the East as the likely spot, confirming various earlier reports, hopes, and assumptions.
Foregoing geography allows the SEC to retain all its rivalries, and presumably fix up Missouri and A&M with an annual event of their own. It also pairs Missouri with fellow J-school Georgia, setting up a media rivalry there as well. Competitively, this might work out just fine for the Tigers, who would get to recruit talent-awash Texas, Florida and Georgia in addition to their home state.
Update: Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun reports on Twitter:
High-ranking source in SEC tells me Mizzou definitely going to the East. Gators have a new rival. Bama didn't want to lose UT. Story up soon
We'll see where they wind up.
After a false announcement and weeks of delays, the SEC officially announced the Missouri Tigers as their 14th team on Sunday. Mizzou will join the league on July 1, 2012, meaning they'll be good to go as a SEC member for next year's football, basketball and assorted other seasons.
No word yet on which division the Tigers will join, but the East has looked to be the landing spot that would pose the fewest scheduling problems. It's complicated. Mainly, keeping rivalries intact. The SEC's release also makes sure to point out -- while heralding Mizzou as a large, AAU school whose athletic profile fits the league's -- that the Tigers' state borders Tennessee and Kentucky, SEC East states.
A statement from Mizzou's end:
"The Southeastern Conference is a highly successful, stable, premier athletic conference that offers exciting opportunities for the University of Missouri," said Chancellor Brady J. Deaton. "In joining the SEC, MU partners with universities distinguished for their academic programs and their emphasis on student success. The SEC will provide our student-athletes with top flight competition and unparalleled visibility. We came to this decision after careful consideration of the long term best interests of our university. We believe the Southeastern Conference is an outstanding home for the Mizzou Tigers, and we take great pride in our association with this distinguished league."
And here's what the SEC has to say:
"The Presidents and Chancellors of the Southeastern Conference are pleased to welcome the University of Missouri to the SEC," said Dr. Bernie Machen, President of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. "The University of Missouri is a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."
And now, once the Big East unveils its new collection, we should be done with conference realignment for the time being. Great!
The SEC and Big 12 have each pretty much already confirmed the Missouri Tigers will switch conferences. The SEC accidentally announced the move, while the Big 12 didn't list Mizzou as a likely 2012 member. So what, pray tell, are we still waiting on?
Missouri appears to be the most thorough school in the nation. The latest sign that actual progress is being made, though, is the news that chancellor Brady Deaton has canceled a nine-day trip to handle business closer to home. Deaton has been granted the sole power to make a conference move, so it's kind of important to have him nearby.
So ... within nine days we can be done with this round of conference realignment, yes? Please?
Big 12 expansion turned up a piece of SEC expansion news on Friday. The West Virginia Mountaineers' realignment from the Big East resulted in a Big 12 statement that listed the conference's expected roster for the coming athletic year:
Beginning with the 2012-13 season it is expected that the Big 12 Conference will be comprised of 10 Universities - Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia. The Big 12's footprint will encompass five states with over 36 million people.
Yep, no Missouri Tigers. Couple that with the SEC's accidental announcement of Mizzou on Thursday night, and we can consider this a DEAL THAT IS DONE AND SHOULD JUST BE ANNOUNCED so we can all move on and enjoy college football games.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive has long held to the claim that the SEC is satisfied to have 13 teams for the 2012 season. Mark Richt, John Calipari, Tennessee's athletic director and other dignitaries around the conference have raised eyebrows at the assertion, pointing out what a pretty number 14 is.
Our transition team is working on schedules for 13 and 14 [members]. We'll know when we know. There's no timetable for us. I know everybody is anxious to know where things stand with conference realignment, especially with all this activity out there. With respect to the SEC, I have really nothing new to add, at least at this time.
For the experienced Sliveologist, this reads as closely to an admission that team No. 14 is on its way as anything short of an official announcement possibly could.
As far as I know, here we have the first instance of a SEC official confirming reports of the Missouri Tigers making moves to join the SEC. Multiple SEC administrators, athletic directors and coaches have commented contrary to Mike Slive's line that the league is happy sitting at 13 teams, but none of them have specifically remarked in the positive regarding Mizzou.
Here's LSU chancellor Michael Martin, noted around here for his #realtalk propensity:
The West Virginia Mountaineers will reportedly declare for the Big 12 on Wednesday. If they're really waiting on Missouri to decide before taking that leap, then the Tigers could announce Tuesday night. If, if, if.
The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors held a regularly-scheduled meeting today in Dallas to discuss a wide range of topics.
The biggest topic of discussion had to be the Missouri Tigers, who are in the process of deciding whether or not to leave the Big 12 for the SEC. Many expect Mizzou to make the move this week. However, if they're going to leave the Big 12, they haven't done it yet.
Intermim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas just told The Star that Missouri did not submit a letter of conditional withdrawal nor did it notify the Big 12 on Monday of its plans to leave the Big 12.
According to the statement released after the meeting, "a strong desire for the University of Missouri to maintain its Big 12 affiliation was expressed." Missouri did have a representative present.
The Board also discussed including NCAA legislation, the Bowl Championship Series, and an exploration of a Conference dedicated TV network.
Monday could be decision day for Missouri as the Tigers mull their future conference affiliation. Missouri has been steadily taking the necessary steps to leave the Big 12 and join another conference, likely the SEC, over the course of the last few weeks, including last week's vote to give the chancellor the power to make all alignment decisions. If the reports are true, Monday could be the day Missouri walks away from its current conference.
According to Chip Brown, the Big 12 is already exploring options for life after Missouri.
Sources tell Orangebloods.com West Va has slight edge on Louisville to replace Missouri in Big 12. Mizzou decision to leave could come Mon.
If Missouri decides to pull out of the Big 12, one would reasonably expect an invitation to the SEC to follow. From there, the Tigers would accept and the Big 12 would then have to work to fill the vacancies. The conference realignment wheel spins again.
Friday afternoon, the Missouri Tigers announced they're officially looking around for a new conference home, in a manner of speaking. Any Mizzou fans that had been hoping for the school's Board of Curators meeting to end with black and yellow balloons, the marching band playing alongside cheerleaders and Gary Pinkel taking the podium to guarantee a Sugar Bowl bid were ... well, they were disappointed.
There's a process for these things, as our own Bill Connelly, he of the great Missouri Tigers blog Rock M Nation, makes clear:
The press conference following the executive session of today's Missouri Board of Curators meeting did not have most of us were hoping for, i.e. an official "stay or go" announcement. But it doesn't take much between-the-lines literacy to see where the thought process currently resides. Missouri has decided to leave the Big 12, and as soon as they figure out some lingering "issues," i.e. how not to alienate (and financially harm) the Kansas City area, they will likely do so. And of course, the SEC is almost certainly the destination at hand.
(If nothing else, we have all learned by now that leaks happen when the University of Missouri is involved, so if there were some sort of odd dealings regarding the Big Ten, Big East, Patriot League, or any other conference in the country, we would likely have heard about it.)
Is it a 100-percent guarantee that Mizzou is gone? Not necessarily. With both conference realignment and anything regarding Mizzou (one of the most frequent Charlie Browns to the Sports God's Lucy), nothing is certain until the ink is dry. There could always be last-second developments, but they are at least somewhat unlikely by now. Missouri's statements, in only addressing issues related to Kansas City, revealed their current intentions, as did the revelation if Missouri leaves, they intend to be gone by next year.
Many wanted an outright decision, but with a fan base, general culture and set of interests so diverse, nothing is quick when it comes to this university. As a whole, Missouri has followed the general timeline taken by Texas A&M, and it is likely that this issue will be put to bed by the end of October, especially if Missouri truly wants to get moved into their new digs by next August.
Now that the University of Missouri's Board of Curators announced a unanimous resolution to delegate authority to chancellor Brady Deaton to seek new conference affiliation, the Big 12 has released a statement on what's next on their end.
"We look forward to discussing Missouri's future with the Big 12 Conference," said interim commissioner Chuck Neinas. "The school has been involved with the Big 12 and its predecessor conferences since 1907. It is propitious that the Big 12 Board of Directors has a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday. Obviously, Conference membership will be thoroughly discussed at that time."
They make it all sound so pleasant.
First and foremost, other than Missouri actually gaining membership to the SEC, is whether or not they'll be allowed to compete there in 2012. Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas' has said no, Missouri expects the answer to be yes. We'll see how cordial everyone is after that conversation.
After announcing chancellor Brady Deaton had been granted power to make decisions about conference alignment, the Missouri Tigers board of curators answered questions from assembled media. They did not answer very many questions about UM's new retirement plan, but they did get one about the school's search for a new president.
Almost all of the queries related to conference realignment. Almost all answers amounted to, "Wait and see what Deaton comes up with." One of the few specific answers they did give was about when they expect to join their new conference.
Despite Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas' insistence that the Tigers will remain for another year, Missouri said they expect to play in their elected conference in 2012.
Calculate it at 99 percent certainty that Missouri will soon announce Deaton has decided the school's athletic programs will leave the Big 12. Then there's paperwork to file, and there are council of elders meetings to hold, and there's a show of caution to be made.
But no school empowers an administrator to make a decision about conference realignment unless it's made a decision about conference realignment.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
The University of Missouri's long-awaited Board of Curators meeting concluded Friday, followed by a press conference at which curators announced a unanimous resolution to delegate authority to chancellor Brady Deaton to seek new conference affiliation.
Further, the Missouri Tigers announced an initiative to create a local basketball tournament and football game in Kansas City against a local rival. Slick move, as it shows Mizzou's intent to continue rivalries with the Kansas Jayhawks in the event of a move to the SEC, plus assures Kansas City of a continued Missouri presence. KU had previously worried about the continuation of the series if the Tigers left the Big 12.
If you didn't decide to watch the conference online, you missed out on some exciting details about Mizzou's new retirement plan and fiscal budget review and the search for a new school president. I hope you can find the important facts about these matters via your favorite search engine.
Step one is now finally done. Expect Mizzou to formally withdraw from the Big 12 in like a thousand years and then be invited into the SEC a thousand years after that and at some point, after much discussion and consternation, begrudgingly accept. This could all happen like right now, but there's a process.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
The University of Missouri's board of curators* is in the middle of a three-day hem-and-haw over important things, one of which is widely believed to be a decision on whether to leave the Big 12. The last time a Mizzou board of curators meeting was met with such wide belief, it did produce an announcement that they're looking at their conference options.
Any vote would be a mere formality, as are all votes in conference realignment. You don't vote on it unless you know it will pass.
If a vote comes, Power Mizzou reports it will likely be Friday, while some sort of reciprocation from the SEC shouldn't be expected until next week or later.
* My favorite thing about conference realignment, or should I say the only fun thing about conference realignment, has been seeing college football fans learn to do the math on what a "board of curators" means in Texas A&M or Alabama terms. They should all be called councils of elders, like a sci fi movie.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
TCU to the Big 12? Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC? Everybody to the Mountain USA? What has the recent realignment drama done to the actual balance of power on the college football field?
Pete Thamel of the New York Times has reported what many have expected for a while now: the Missouri Tigers are on their way to becoming a member of the SEC. But what about the Big 12? How does the Big 12 feel about all this?
Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas told CBS Sports he's "not heard anything" that would give him the impression Mizzou's about to bolt. Nor had he, at the time, yet read the Times report. Neinas also says he feels Missouri's next Board of Curators meeting regards the appointment of a new systems president, not conference realignment.
Neinas is more on top of things than certain other conference commissioners of whom we could speak. He may not have the latest information, but he's also got a backup plan in case the Tigers do split. Expect the Big 12 to bring on one to three schools in order to get back to double digits soon.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
The New York Times' Pete Thamel is reporting that Missouri’s decision to apply for membership to the SEC was "inevitable and imminent." This was according to a source who does not know a specific timetable for the application.
Missouri’s Board of Curators, who signed off on the school's official exploration of conference realignment, will meet on Thursday and Friday at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. It is thought that the process of withdrawing from the Big 12 Conference and applying to the SEC will begin then.
According to Thamel's source, Missouri is confident they have enough votes from SEC schools to join the conference.
If they do, then they will become the 14th member of the SEC, joining Texas A&M, who just left the Big 12 for the SEC.
The move could also set off a chain reaction in the Big East, where schools such as Louisville and West Virginia are considered candidates for expansion. The loss of Missouri would leave the Big 12 with 9 members for 2012. They could choose to replace Missouri with one school or they could bring on three to return to the number in the conference name.
BYU has also been mentioned as a candidate for Big 12 expansion.
For more, keep checking Mizzou blog Rock M Nation. And stay tuned here for more .
The Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies will play on Thanksgiving Day in football, and then on various other days in various other sports that probably have schedules freely available on the Internet and accessible via Google. After that, they won't play each other in football again until 2018 at the earliest due to Texas' plans to stick to its current non-conference schedule.
A&M will leave the Big 12 for the SEC in 2012, in case you're just now joining us.
To be sure, non-conference schedules can be broken. For example, this year's Chick-fil-A game between the Boise St. Broncos and Georgia Bulldogs required both teams, plus the Louisville Cardinals and North Carolina Tar Heels, to rearrange their schedules, and all on short notice to boot. Texas could very easily buy out a couple of non-conference games years down the road to make room for their longtime rivals.
Thus, this is a pretty clear shot at the Aggies, and not anything Texas was forced into doing. Not that I'm judging Texas for having the last word here.
No, the Missouri Tigers aren't joining the Big East. They're still pondering whether to join the SEC, while the Big East is still pondering anything and everything related to sports and non-sports. However, both Mizzou and the Big East are reportedly not quite ready to make any major realignment moves. And that's what this update is about.
According to the Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond, Mizzou media gets the sense that little will come on the Missouri-to-SEC-or-Big 12 front until next Friday at the earliest. There's a curators' meeting scheduled for that day, though it's not necessarily focused on conference realignment.
The Big East is set to vote on increasing exit fees Friday according to the Sporting News, a critical step in the expansion process. The Navy Midshipmen, for one, would reportedly prefer to see a solidified league first. It's also worth noting the Louisville Cardinals could reportedly sit out the vote. They're the No. 1 Big 12 expansion candidate at the moment, according to the New York Times' Pete Thamel and others.
The other shoe we're all waiting for: the Missouri Tigers, who must choose between the Big 12 and the SEC. And we might be waiting a long time, according to new Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas, who says Mizzou will have until the end of the 2011-12 academic year to make up its mind. And according to Neinas, the Tigers will remain in the conference next season either way, presumably meaning they wouldn't join the SEC until 2013 if they do decide to split.
Neinas also says there's no consensus on whether to stay at 10 or grow to 12. The Louisville Cardinals, West Virginia Mountaineers and BYU Cougars have been the most frequently mentioned candidates for those last spots, if expansion continues.
The Big 12 is set to have 10, with the addition of the TCU Horned Frogs making up for Texas A&m's exit, numerically at least. Don't expect the conference to remain short of 12 for much longer than one season, though, as that rules out a lucrative conference title game.
Oh right, the Missouri Tigers and the SEC. It's been a few days since anything Mizzou has emerged on the conference realignment front. Here's something: the Associated Press reports it obtained a university memo that shows the Missouri athletic department could make up to $12 million more in renegotiated conference TV money by going to the SEC instead of staying in the Big 12.
That's important, and it's also important that Mizzou wants you to know about these financial figures, or so it appears.
Leaving the Big 12 could make the Tigers look like they're turning their backs on the Kansas Jayhawks and other rivals. But they can't come right out and say they'd have to excuse themselves from $120 million over the next decade in order to remain linked to KU. Making the press aware of such an aggressive estimate is a hands-clean way to get the word out.
Read this one differently if you'd like, but this seems like another strong sign that Missouri is putting more and more pressure on the Big 12 as it considers a move to the SEC.
You've been wondering all week...what does the Kansas City Sports Commission think of the possibility that Missouri could leave the Big 12 Conference?
They're not too pleased, actually.
The KC Sports Commission and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau wrote an open letter to Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton imploring him to consider, among other things, the rivalry and economic impact that the region will feel if the Tigers became an SEC school.
"We know that many factors must be considered, including the academic, financial, and alumni relations implications of your decision. And, of course, the history and future of your University’s athletic program.
"That program, as you know, has Midwestern roots more than a century old… We cannot imagine the University of Missouri’s athletics tilting away from this region and the athletic history to which they have contributed so mightily."
You can read the entire letter here. It's a good reminder about the far-reaching impact of conference realignment. It's not just affecting schools and conferences but towns, cities and local governments as well.
The Missouri Tigers want into the SEC -- well, they'd deign to accept such an invitation -- and according to Jon Solomon, most SEC schools want Mizzou as well. But the Tigers need nine votes to make it in, and according to the report, they don't quite have it yet.
Here's Solomon in the Birmingham News:
One source said there's a group of presidents that wants to sit tight, believing the SEC can do better than Missouri and that No. 14 should come from the East. According to both sources, Alabama wants to look East and not risk losing its annual game against Tennessee, while Auburn favors adding Missouri and moving to the Eastern Division.
That divisional alignment thing is going to be a pickle. Both Auburn and Alabama have rivalries to protect (vs. Georgia and Tennessee, respectively), but most other currently installed cross-divisional pairings could stand to be played every couple years or so. Unless the SEC can get both of those schools into the East, this is going to continue to be an issue.
The conference realignment wheel continues to spin with Missouri's seeking other options than staying in the Big 12. However, that won't stop the conference from expanding. According Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World, Oklahoma President David Boren told reporters that the Big 12 will expand soon even though he doesn't expect Missouri to stay in the league.
According to additional reporting from NewOK.com's Travis Haney, Boren told reporters that the chances of Missouri staying in the Big 12 were "50-50" and that expansion could happen in about a week. With Texas A&M's decision to leave the conference for the SEC next year, the Big 12 is down to nine teams. If Missouri leaves, the conference would look to add four teams instead of three. For now, the Big 12 does not meet the NCAA requirement of 12 teams to host a conference championship game.
For more on Missouri's quest for a new conference home, be sure to check out Rock M Nation.
Missouri seems destined to be leaving the Big 12, dealing yet another blow to the quickly shrinking conference, but sources have told the AP that the school would've preferred to join the Big Ten rather than the SEC. Last year, Missouri had hoped to get a Big Ten invite, but Nebraska was selected instead. The Big Ten reportedly "has no interest" in Missouri.
On Tuesday, Missouri's curators voted unanimously to allow Chancellor Brady Deaton to look for a new conference. The Big 12 is already down to 10 schools after Nebraska and Colorado left and its future remains unclear.
If Missouri does end up joining the SEC, it would end a relationship with schools with which it has been aligned since 1907 when the Big Eight was first established (although it has been called several different names). Missouri was also one of the founding members of the Big 12 in 1994 when the Big Eight merged with four schools from the Southwest Conference.
For more on Missouri's quest for a new conference home, be sure to check out Rock M Nation.
The Missouri Tigers may soon leave the Big 12 for the SEC or maybe even the Big Ten (you never know!). As expected, the Kansas Jayhawks have something to say about this. Athletic director Sheahon Zenger released a statement Tuesday night, which used the "student-athlete" magic word, so you know it's good, while basketball coach Bill Self talked about possibly ending the school's Border War rivalry (he probably will not do such a thing).
We value our long-standing conference rivalry with Missouri. We believe the Midwest deserves a strong conference for student-athletes, fans and alumni, and it is our desire that Missouri will stay committed - as Kansas is - to the Big 12 Conference.
If they choose to be somewhere other than with us and with the other schools that they've been a p art of and could jeopardize the future of the other schools ... I'm not going to make a commitment now that we'd ever play again. I'm not saying we won't. I'm certainly not going to pretend that we would.
If Mizzou makes the leap, Kansas will have every reason to feel displeased about being left in the unstable Big 12. Unfortunately, this is what happens to basketball schools in the modern conference realignment era.
The actions of Missouri's Curators last night suggest a move to the SEC is imminent, and conference realignment is not yet over. While nothing is solid until the ink dries on the contracts (just ask Oklahoma), let's take a look at what Missouri has to offer.
A long meeting of the University of Missouri's Board of Curators resulting in some big news for conference expansion: Missouri appears to be ready to leave the Big 12, appointing Chancellor Brady Deaton to explore conference realignment options.
Deaton serves as chair of the Big 12's board of directors and on its committee on expansion, but it appears his roles there will come to an end as he prepares Missouri for a move somewhere else, potentially as the SEC's 14th team to join along with Texas A&M. Things are just going from bad to worse for the Big
12 10 8.
From the Kansas City Star's Mike DeArmond:
Deaton only said that Mizzou would be looking elsewhere, not commenting on if the SEC was the primary goal or not, but it's the most logical option for the Tigers at this point. But then, since when has logic guided conference expansion?
To hear what Missouri fans think of the decision, head to Rock M Nation.
Even though Vanderbilt Commodores basketball coach Kevin Stallings has said an even number of teams is best for the SEC, Vandy vice chancellor of athletics (oh they fancy huh) David Williams says the conference could stay at 13 for "years." That's contrary to Tennessee's AD, Georgia coach Mark Richt, South Carolina's president and several other southeastern dignitaries, but all right.
This is all pretty relevant because the University of Missouri's bigwigs are meeting rrrrright now to discuss matters of sport. Don't be surprised to learn the school has granted itself the power to consider conference realignment options, but such a result wouldn't necessarily be a sure sign Mizzou's heading Chick-fil-A-ward. I don't think.
Bully for Vandy for sticking to the company line even as other conference members acknowledge the move toward 14 teams, though.
That long-presumed Missouri Tigers board of curators meeting on conference realignment? It's happening, everyone is still assuming. Well, there is an official meeting now scheduled, though the part that is expected to touch on the Big 12 and SEC is only mentioned in vague tones:
The board of curators will hold a closed meeting, pursuant to Section 610.021(1), 610.021(3), 610.021(12) and 610.021(13) RSMo, for consideration of certain confidential or privileged communications with university counsel, personnel and contract items all as authorized by law and upon approval by resolution of the board of curators.
It's also worth noting that Mizzou chancellor Brady Deaton sat out of a portion of the Big 12's teleconference on its new six-year media agreement, on the advice of school legal counsel. Deaton also serves as the Big 12's board of directors chairman, forming a sensitive pair of allegiances indeed.
Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas has been a busy man since taking over for Dan Beebe. He's compared the SEC to ... well, to something better than the Big 12 and has insisted the Missouri Tigers are a better cultural fit for his conference than for Mike Slive's.
According to Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler, Neinas is trying to "re-recruit" Mizzou "off the ledge." However, Sittler also refers to SEC commissioner Slive as "Mike Slime," so the Tulsa World may just be a message board with a fancy name.
He's putting on a better show of trying to keep the Tigers than Beebe did of wrangling for Texas A&M, isn't he? He's also talked up conference expansion with or without Missouri on board. Whether any of this is actually having any effect behind the scenes remains to be seen, and that's the most redundant sentence you'll read all day.
At this point, it's only a matter of time before the SEC adds another member to get to the nice round number of 14. Texas A&M became the conference's 13th member just a few days ago, but it's been assumed all along that the Aggies were part of a bigger process. After all, 13 is a less than ideal number of members, creating all sorts of scheduling nightmares.
While Hart offered no timetable, he did allude to expansion conversations happening soon.
Hart says the addition of Texas A&M as the SEC's 13th team was a good one, but the league's leaders must take their next steps deliberately because the SEC will expand again. He says those conversations will take place "in short order."
Rumors about the 14th team have been abound, with many pegging Missouri as the next logical SEC member. As of now, it would appear Missouri may take flight, leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, though as with all expansion rumors, nothing is set in concrete and everything is subject to change at a moment's notice.
For more on the Vols, head over to SB Nation's Rocky Top Talk.
It's been fun to watch members of the Big 12 expansion committee scramble to align themselves with a new home while their conference clings to life, but new commissioner Chuck Neinas isn't finding it as ironic as the rest of us. On Wednesday, Neinas announced Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton will no longer chair the expansion committee, but didn't give a reason why. In perhaps a related note, the SEC and Missouri are reportedly still flirting.
The news comes from Chip Brown, who also names the replacement.
Mizzou chancellor Brady Deaton no longer chairing 5-member expansion committee in B12. K-State's prez is.
So the chancellor of the school who reportedly has eyes for the SEC, or vice-versa, is out and Kansas State, which doesn't appear to have any other options, is in. Makes perfect sense from an expansion standpoint. The Wildcats are far more likely to work in earnest to keep the Big 12 alive because of the dire straights a collapse would put them in.
When Oklahoma St. Cowboys booster T. Boone Pickens speaks, you better be sure that OSU and the rest of the Big 12 listens.
With rumors swirling that Missouri could be the mythical 14th SEC team, Pickens said "we got a real problem" if Missouri doesn't stay in the Big 12 while in San Antonio on Tuesday.
When asked who his top choices for Big 12 expansion were, Pickens said TCU and Houston make the most sense.
Adding fuel to the Missouri fire was head football coach Gary Pinkel, who reaffirmed his previous comments that the Big 12 gives Texas an unfair advantage and the Tigers should leave if that situation isn't remedied.
"I’ve been honest with comments I’ve made the last few weeks. I still stand by and stick with the comments I made.
"The Big 12 has the potential to be a great league. Hopefully, things will be fixed so it will be."
It doesn't look like the Longhorn Network is going anywhere anytime soon, so perhaps that means the Missouri Tigers will be.
For more on Missouri, visit Missouri blog Rock M Nation.
Well today is just What Kentucky Thinks About Conference Realignment Day, isn't it? Shortly after athletic director Mitch Barnhart hinted the Kentucky Wildcats might roadblock the Lousiville Cardinals' entry into the SEC, Cats basketball coach John Calipari offered his opinion on where the league goes from here:
"I don't think this stuff is done yet," Calipari said. "I've said for months that there may be four conferences with 16 or 18 teams each. But I can tell you that the SEC at 13, 14 or 16 is going to be stable. We're fine. If they're going to add, I'd like us to go and get Virginia Tech, Maryland and Missouri to go along with Texas A&M.
In that same article, Vanderbilt Commodores coach Kevin Stallings also says he favors an even number of teams. Add that to South Carolina and Georgia and you have prominent personnel at one-third of SEC schools saying 14 or 16, rather than the 13 Mike Slive is claiming would suit the conference just fine.
We haven't heard anything about Maryland's SEC candidacy in a while, other than that they were one of the two schools to favor a smaller ACC exit fee. Otherwise, they were mentioned once about a month ago and that's it. But those other two might be the most likely candidates for spot No. 14.
The popular assumption regarding SEC realignment: there's a bloc of schools that will watch each other's backs to keep from adding teams to the SEC that reside in current SEC states. "The Gentleman's Agreement," it's been dubbed.
The thinking is that the Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, South Carolina Gamecocks and Kentucky Wildcats will agree to keep out the Florida St. Seminoles, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Clemson Tigers and Louisville Cardinals.
There's never been any real evidence of such an agreement, but you might want to file this one away in your Gentleman's Agreement Evidence Cabinet for future reference, if you're into conspiracy theories: Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart told Kentucky Sports Radio that the Wildcats "would not rule out a veto" of Louisville.
Louisville has scarcely been reported as a potential SEC invite, trailing at least the Missouri Tigers, West Virginia Mountaineers and Virginia Tech Hokies on the list of most-buzzed candidates. It's interesting not because KENTUCKY SHOOTS DOWN LOUISVILLE (note that Barnhart didn't say they would veto, only that they would not rule out a veto) but because at least one SEC school is publicly mindful of what it would mean to admit its in-state rival.
Texas A&M president Bowen Loftin and athletic director Bill Byrne, along with SEC commissioner Mike Slive and Bernie Machen held a press conference Tuesday to officially induct the Aggies into the SEC. You can read their remarks here, and here's the tl;dr version:
The SEC was happy at 12 teams and is now happy at 13 teams. Oklahoma staying in the Big 12 appeared to be a sign that nobody was going to sue over A&M leaving. Working on schedule options. Something about academics. The SEC's TV contract provides for "look-in" negotiations.
Texas A&M feels its football is ready to compete. Also, other sports. The Aggies are open to keep playing Arkansas in Dallas and still want to play Texas. Not yet sure what the Big 12 buyout will be. A&M talked with Slive before Nebraska and Colorado left the Big 12. The SEC has revenue sharing, which the Big 12 didn't have. Kyle Field may be renovated in 2013.
Don't be floored if, within a year, happy to be at 14 teams.
The Texas A&M Aggies have officially been admitted by the SEC, and now must prepare for a difficulty increase. The SEC is currently set to enter the 2012-13 seasons with 13 teams, which the conference insists is a fine number even though every architect knows it's bad luck.
That's not easy to believe, considering the logistical inconveniences and general MACness of a 13-team schedule (plus reports that the SEC has sent an offer to Missouri and received one from West Virginia ... and all those denials by Virginia Tech). At least a couple of conference VIPs already seem to feel the same way.
"I don't think 13 is a sustainable number, but I think 14 is," Pastides said. "I'm not in favor of 16 personally right now. You begin to lose what is a very special quality."
"Well, if they're joining us, you'd think there would be at least another one joining somewhere along the way," Richt, Georgia's football coach, said Sunday evening.
So Texas A&M is heading to the SEC. What does that mean for the strength of the Aggies' schedule, both in 2012 and into the future?
Texas A&M's going to be part of the SEC next year, officially: the SEC announced Sunday that the Aggies would be joining the conference for the 2012-13 academic year.
The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced today that Texas A&M University will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
"The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family," said Dr. Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. "The addition of Texas A&M University as the SEC’s 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."
Officially announcing the move is a fairly good indication that Texas A&M has sorted out all its obligations to the Big 12 and will be able to leave the conference without penalty. About the only thing left for the Aggies to do? Wait until next year, when their move takes effect.
For more on the Aggies, be sure to visit I Am the 12th Man.
Members of the Big 12 who have nowhere else to go are telling you the conference's schools are locked arm-in-arm for the next half-decade. Meanwhile, at least one school with conference realignment options says things aren't quite so rosy just yet. Not all that hard to figure out what that means.
During a conversation with the KC Star, University of Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton essentially said thrice that his school isn't yet 100 percent on staying in the Big 12. As for specifics, here's the closest you're going to get:
When asked about the SEC, Deaton said that was another hypothetical and he wouldn't elaborate further.
Asked if the SEC was still in play, the administrator, who contacted The Star, said: "You will not look stupid by insinuating that."
Compare that to the noises made by the average school official whose programs are caught up in realignment. It's still not yet clear whether the SEC had invited the Missouri Tigers before the Big 12 announced ... whatever it announced Thursday night.
Best guess: Mizzou knows the rest of the conference knows the Tigers have an escape route. If Oklahoma can claim its non-invitation to the Pac-12 helped to fix the Big 12, why shouldn't Missouri use its likely actual invitation to the SEC as a way to make the Big 12 work for Missouri? Only one of those two programs has a bargaining chip right now, after all.
For more, swing by Mizzou blog Rock M Nation.
Those $20 million buyout penalties the ACC reportedly installed last week, which we're supposed to think of as guarantees of conference stability despite Colorado and Nebraska having paid the same to exit the Big 12? They might have produced even less of a rock-solid foundation than you'd thought.
According to reports, the fee was supposed to be $34 million until the Florida St. Seminoles and Maryland Terrapins brought it down. Since those schools have potential options outside the ACC, that's interesting.
FSU has been mentioned as a possible SEC target, but its football program is such a national presence that the Noles could probably go just about anywhere they wanted. Maryland's size and AAU status make it a viable Big Ten expansion candidate at some point.
Pete Thamel thinks the SEC is staying pat for now, but there's now one more small reason to keep FSU in the back of your mind as a potential addition, if that's where you store information about such things.
Big East Conference commissioner John Marinatto came away from Tuesday's nights meeting between the conference football schools with the impression everyone was committed to the future of the conference.
According to UConn, West Virginia and Rutgers...not so much.
UConn President Susan Herbst released a statement today in regards to the school and it's future and at no point does she even mention the Big East:
"Please know that we will always do what is in the best interests for the University of Connecticut."
Meanwhile, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck's statement does actually mention the words "Big" and "East," but seems as noncommittal to the conference as UConn's.
"As I stated before, WVU is an excellent flagship, land-grant University, with national-caliber athletic and academic programs. We are, and will remain, a national player in college athletics."
Another source told the AP that Rutgers never actually committed itself to the Big East either.
Someone should probably double-check with John Marinatto that he was in the same meeting all of these schools were in.
For more on the ever-changing Big East landscape, head on over to Big East Coast Bias.
The college conference realignment news is changing by the hour, so QUICK, hurry up and read our breakdown of exactly what we know as of right now. It'll certainly be different by tomorrow.
In the world of conference expansion we now find ourselves in, one thing is for certain: nothing's certain. That's why when The Birmingham News reports that tentative plans are in place for Missouri's move to the SEC, a counterbalance report is an inevitability. This time, it came from the New York TImes' Pete Thamel:
"Definitely" sounds a lot stronger than "tentative," but I trust whatever news source is reporting that nothing has been decided, because it's clear that nothing has. I mean, Texas A&M is now behind Pittsburgh and Syracuse, thanks to a threatened Baylor lawsuit.
As rumors continue to float, just keep one thing in mind — until all the papers are signed, nothing's guaranteed. It's because of this that a comedian might be our voice of reason in all of this:
Earlier Tuesday, everybody in the world reported the Missouri Tigers have an offer to join the SEC. But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Vahe Gregorian got a hold of SEC associate commissioner for media relations Charles Bloom, who told him, "The SEC has not extended an invitation to any school beyond Texas A&M since it extended invitations to Arkansas and South Carolina."
If you thumb through the history of this conference realignment StoryStream, you'll note a number of things have been denied that ended up becoming true, whether or not they were actually true at the moment of denial. To be fair, the SEC may have an understanding with Mizzou that doesn't technically qualify as an offer, or the SEC may actually not want the Tigers at all.
Who knows! You don't! More importantly, it's Tuesday, and the next college football weekend starts in two days.
By now, two local outlets and two national publications have reported that the SEC's 14th team will be the Missouri Tigers. The Sporting News' Matt Hayes added a confirmation on Tuesday, adding that the SEC intends to expand to only 14 teams and not continue on to 16.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples foresaw Mizzou as SEC team No. 14, while the entire DeArmond family has been reporting the arrangement is mostly delayed by the Big 12's last gasps. Oh yes, the Big 12 has last gasps.
That's a pretty solid array of reporting there. Don't be surprised to see Missouri join the SEC soon, but it's nothing official. The Tigers have wanted out for some time now, and it looks like they'll get their wish. At this point, the primary question from the SEC's perspective is what to do about SEC division realignment -- adding two teams to the western division means somebody has to move east, and sending border-straddler Auburn across the line would mean having to make both the Iron Bowl and the Third Saturday in October protected rivalries somehow.
If the SEC doesn't want the West Virginia Mountaineers, then it has only a few moves still available that would bring it to an even 14 teams. Option No. 1 for that spot has appeared to be the Missouri Tigers. Tuesday afternoon saw a small rush of reports that Mizzou is indeed in line to join the SEC.
Mike DeArmond of the KC Star reported Missouri has an offer from the SEC, and that the SEC is fine with waiting on the Big 12 to fall apart. That story cites a Tigers booster as one of its primary sources, which might not inspire 100 percent confidence.
Also, PowerMizzou.com's Gabe DeArmond reported shortly before that "the SEC wants Mizzou as No. 14, but is willing to wait on the implosion of the Big 12 Conference." Yes, the two DeArmonds are related.
Ouch. According to CBS Sports' Brett McMurphy, who's been the source of conference realignment news for the past week, the West Virginia Mountaineers have been already turned down by both the SEC and the ACC. Ouch.
We'd known WVU had requested a place in the new SEC, but their interest in the ACC is new information. Every Big East team is likely phoning Tobacco Road night and day, so it's not surprising, but the Eers just seemed like a much better fit for the SEC than for the ACC. Which I mean as a compliment to all parties involved.
Surprising news, since most conferences seem to be leaving all their cards on the table. Rejecting West Virginia would leave the SEC with the Missouri Tigers and Virginia Tech Hokies as major options for team No. 14, while solidifying the notion that the ACC will keep adding big northeastern TV markets unless they can break Notre Dame.
The Charleston Gazette's Mitch Vingle reports the West Virginia Mountaineers have "indeed turned to the Southeastern Conference," and are now waiting to hear back. Essentially, they haven't been told, "No," they've been told, "Hang on."
When you look at it, this lines up with what was reported within the past few days. Colin Dunlap reported the Eers had applied to the SEC, which it appears they have. Andy Staples reported the SEC would prefer to wait and take the Missouri Tigers once the Big 12 falls apart -- that could happen pretty soon, as both the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns have taken significant steps towards the Pac-12.
Even if the SEC does pick up Mizzou, that wouldn't rule out West Virginia. While Mike Slive insists he's cool with remaining at 13 teams, nobody really wants to remain at 13 teams. If 16 is the magic number, that would leave plenty of room for WVU.
Those three entities in the title are listed in descending order of importance in this matter, of course.
As the Big East has already lost two of its football-playing schools and could lose three more if the Big Ten and ACC help themselves, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have found themselves with a tenuous home for their Olympic sports.
While the Irish remain a football independent, it would be hard to imagine them choosing to leave their basketball in a dilapidated conference with few other nationally branded institutions and no shot at a top media deal -- not to mention one that could soon be upstaged in its own home. Either way, Notre Dame remains the most-prized item on the market for the Big Ten, Big 12, Big East and ACC.
So when Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick comments on conference realignment, it's important:
I don't understand it. How do you vote as a collegiate president on something that has the potential to provide some benefit for your institution and the conference you're affiliated with but has a very negative consequence for a host of other members of the academy, as presidents like to call it?
Also, "a congressman from a state with a university that could be harmed by realignment" is making noise about using the federal government to force other schools to play sports with a school his constituents happen to favor. And NCAA president Mark Emmert wants everybody to settle down.
For more, head to Notre Dame blog One Foot Down.
The West Virginia Mountaineers may indeed want to join the SEC, as was reported earlier, but according to a tweet by Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples, the Missouri Tigers are a more likely bet to actually get in. It's interesting to note that the only reports claiming WVU will make it in are coming out of Mountaineers markets, while no SEC outlets have reported the same from the other side of the alleged bargain.
While Mizzou would be a little bit out of the SEC's way geographically, it would boost the conference's academic profile while adding two large TV markets that aren't entirely opposed to college sports (cough, the silly idea of Syracuse football delivering the New York City market, cough). The Tigers offer solid football and decent ... other sports. And, hey, instant buddy rival for Texas A&M.
The Big Ten has been a frequently cited potential landing spot for Mizzou -- if either the SEC or the Big Ten can offer the Tigers a home, they'll happily take what they can get.
For more Mizzou, head to Missouri Tigers blog Rock M Nation.
According to a sourced report by Colin Dunlap, the West Virginia Mountaineers have already "sent paperwork" to the SEC. Dunlap was the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Pittsburgh Pirates beat writer whom you may remember as the guy Bill Stewart tried to sic on Dana Holgorsen. He now works for CBS' Pittsburgh affiliate.
If the report is true, that could mean WVU is in. Nobody sends paperwork in this situation unless they're sure the paperwork will achieve its desired result. If the report is true, of course.
Some have speculated the ACC's decision to quickly pick up the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers was accelerated by an impending move by WVU to the SEC. Since the SEC grabbing the Eers would destabilize the Big East, the ACC may have seen no reason to wait and give the Big Ten a chance to sample any Big East teams for itself. Some have speculated.
When SEC expansion noise was last a thing, WVU, the Missouri Tigers and the Virginia Tech Hokies were the most commonly mentioned teams, with the Louisville Cardinals, Florida St. Seminoles and others also earning quieter murmurings.
For more, visit West Virginia Mountaineers blog The Smoking Musket and SEC blog Team Speed Kills.
The lil ole Baylor Bears are still doing what they can to keep the happy Big 12 family shackled together, taking the matter to Congress. School president Ken Starr, famous for doing some stuff in D.C. in a previous career, met with two dozen lawmakers Wednesday and Thursday to ... OK:
A lobbyist familiar with Starr's visit, which began Wednesday and ends today, tells PI that the push is about Starr "really trying to convey that you have to have the student athletes' interests at heart first before chasing after the biggest contractual agreements" with television networks.
For more on the "student-athlete" rhetorical device, set aside some time for Taylor Branch's landmark piece on the NCAA. Also, more TV contract money means schools can build better facilities and hire better coaches and maybe even send some money outside of athletic departments. All of those things enhance the student-athlete's collegiate experience. So.
The Florida St. Seminoles have held some sort of recent meetings on what to do about shifting conference allegiances. This much we know. But athletic director Randy Spetman said Wednesday that the ACC works just fine for FSU and that the Noles are just keeping an eye on things. FSU trustees chairman Andy Haggard is also cited as denying any contact with the SEC.
Talk of Florida State jumping to the SEC has again murmured forth after it was shouted down the first time around by presumptions of the so-called gentleman's agreement between Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky to refuse any team from a current SEC state.
As always, everyone is denying everything. Assume every school has contacted every feasible conference in one way or another, and assume every conference has World War I-esque maps detailing their counterstrikes to every far-fetched move another could make.
For more on the Noles, head to FSU blog Tomahawk Nation.
It seems we're getting even closer to a superconference, as news is coming out of Florida State that the administration will form a committee to explore switching conferences or bringing some Texas-sized help to the ACC.
Per The Palm Beach Post:
With recent talk of a possible formation of four super conferences, Andy Haggard, chairman of FSU's board of trustees, said Tuesday that his school has begun forming a committee that will explore the university's options. He says FSU should be prepared for any scenario, whether it's moving to another conference or staying in the ACC and having a say in who else may join the league. That could mean Texas...
Haggard went on to say that FSU has not been contacted by the SEC to become the potential 14th member of the league — and that he has no idea whether ACC rival Miami has either — and that the Seminoles are "very happy" in the ACC.
One interesting note from the interview is Haggard hypothesizing as to the college sports landscape after realignment:
"If you are going to four conferences of 16 teams we certainly want to be ready," Haggard said. "If the ACC is included in that we want to be sure we are included and have a say so in regard to the teams that are coming into our conference."
Four 16-teamers? The Pac-12, SEC, ACC and Big 10 would be the most likely. That sounds pretty cool, I gotta say — and it would be perfect for a playoff-style postseason. Again, just saying.
Texas A&M will reportedly join the SEC in 2012 and the dominoes are beginning to tilt in the world of college athletics. The Aggies were the first to move in this wave of conference realignment, but likely won't be the last. In fact, the next few weeks may shape the future of college athletics.
Naturally, Big 12 schools are beginning to scramble. Monday's announcement that Texas A&M would become an SEC member triggered digging, made all the more complicated by scheduled Board of Regents meetings.
Missouri has a Board of Regents, or Curators, meeting conveniently scheduled on Monday night, with a mysterious agenda item on the docket.
Here's the Mizzou posting for its BOR meeting. All executive session. Pres search and mystery item. bit.ly/oa3IO3
Oklahoma also has a Board of Regents meeting scheduled for a week from Monday, and it John Hoover added a cryptic note about negotiations.
OU regents will meet in Claremore, OK on Mon. My source on Board was asked not to talk. "Negotiations are sensitive," he said.
As Bryan Fischer notes, the Sooners' moves may have opened the gates for Texas A&M to join the SEC.
Looks like OU deciding to go West is what A&M/SEC needed as a intervening cause to get rid of Baylor's legal threat.
And with that, weeks of wrangling and rumors have been put to bed: Texas A&M will become the 13th member of the SEC. The Aggies and SEC have engaged in what began to resemble an odd conference mating ritual, beginning with Texas A&M's decision to notify the Big 12 of its decision to leave. What followed came straight out of a soap opera, with lawsuits threatened, jilted lovers left heartbroken and, finally, a resolution.
The move was announced by Mike Slive, ending all the reports, rumors and innuendo we've watched unfold for the past few weeks (via Bryan Fischer).
The SEC has accepted Texas A&M as a member. Mike Slive: The SEC has "started to look at schedules for 2012-13 involving thirteen teams." Slive: "We remain optimistic that Texas A&M will be a member of the SEC" But then says they've been accepted their application.
This answers two questions, but leaves another open. Yes, Texas A&M is now an SEC member, effective next season. And yes, the SEC may be content to stick with 13 teams. But it's an open-ended answer, and Slive may not be settled just yet.
While it's feasible to operate with 13 teams in the short-term, it's a less than ideal situation in the long-term. Should the SEC decide to continue forth on its expansion quest, it's anyone's guess which team, or teams, could be courted. Some rumors: West Virginia, Missouri and pretty much every team on the East Coast.
We'll be back with more on this move as it becomes available.
Note: This doesn't mean everything is final and written in stone, but Slive is using when, not if, and saying the SEC has accepted A&M. There's still legal framework to tie-up, in all likelihood, but this is about as done as it gets.
The threat of super-conferences and a shift in the college landscape has everyone shaking in their boots, and the ACC is no exception. With the SEC apparently on the prowl, ready to add Texas A&M and perhaps one other team, the ACC is ready to hunker down and increase its enforcements to ward off a threat. Nobody is quite sure how this round of conference realignment will play out, and thus it's best to be prepared, else end up like the Big 12.
The ACC may vote to increase its castle walls, bbumping the buyout penalty up in an effort to keep its teams at home, according to a report.
League presidents are scheduled to discuss the topic early next week at their annual September meetings, but it is not the first time the topic has been discussed by the group, nor has the meeting been scheduled specifically to address expansion. The current buyout for an ACC team to leave the conference, according to both sources, is between $10 million to $13 million.
Whether it will work remains to be seen. As we've seen before, a buyout penalty can be merely a suggestion, with future riches and a new home enough to mitigate the hit that comes with a buyout. But at least the ACC is taking proactive action.
Thanks to the events of this past week, Texas A&M is in limbo, ready to run like mad from the Big 12, but without a suitable landing spot at the moment. Right now, it's all but assumed the Aggies will end up in the SEC at some point, but nobody knows when, thanks to the threat of a lawsuit from at least one Big 12 school. And thus, the conference expansion standoff.
Texas A&M is angrily stamping its feet, determined to get away from the Big 12 no matter the cost, even if it means a year in limbo.
A&M official: Only thing clear today is "A&M does not intend to be in the Big 12 next season."
Whether you buy the threat of the Aggies becoming an independent temporarily matters not. In all likelihood, Texas A&M is throwing out threats in an effort to get away from the Big 12, and will somehow be freed before 2012.
But don't expect any news until at least next week. According to Brent Zwerneman, the expansion talk is being put to rest this weekend out of respect.
If nothing shakes out today on alignment front (and not looking likely), things will go quiet over weekend out of respect for 9-11.
The Texas A&M Aggies have burned a few too many bridges to return to the Big 12 for the 2012 season if they aren't able to leave for the SEC. According to beat writer Brent Zwerneman, multiple voices inside A&M are leaning towards conference independence for a year instead of sticking with the Big 12.
Having to slap together an independent schedule for a transitionary season would be a heck of a hassle and lead to a pretty uninspiring slate, but you'd think the Aggies will do whatever it takes to get to the SEC. There's also always the chance that the SEC will eventually just risk a legal spat with Baylor and accept A&M.
And could A&M join a small conference for one season just to cover scheduling for its non-football sports, or would Baylor sue the Sun Belt over Texas A&M equestrian events? These are important questions, and it sounds like we're gonna have a long, long time to spend answering them.
So if Texas A&M is able to escape the mighty gravity of Baylor's extensive legal team and join the SEC ... what would a new SEC schedule look like? Team Speed Kills has its theories, both for the 14-team finished product and the 13-team interim version, while Missouri fans offer an insight of their own, which -- settle down, Mizzou fans.
One popular proposal has Auburn joining the East if two teams are added to the West. But that would mean splitting up the country's most insane sports rivalry, which would require keeping permanent cross-division rivalries. FWIW, Auburn president Jay Gogue is cool with that, and just wants to help out:
"If that's what it took, if you ever went to 14 (SEC members) and needed to make it work, that wouldn't be something I would be upset about," Gogue said. "I don't see any real difference. We already play Georgia, a longtime rival."
You could maybe think of that as one minor hurdle cleared, if you wanted, though some SEC fans might just approve of more hurdles.
So the SEC wants each Big 12 school to agree not to sue the SEC before it will allow Texas A&M to join. Several schools have refused to do so, while ringleader Baylor now reportedly won't waive its legal claim as long as there's Big 12 instability. Which means, like, they'll just keep suing stuff until the Big 12 no longer exists.
Is adding A&M worth a legal battle with Baylor for the SEC? Baylor's endowment is larger than any SEC school's besides Florida's and Vanderbilt's -- BU can afford to drag this thing out while Texas works to appease Oklahoma into staying.
In other news, we've also passed the deadline after which the Big 12 no longer guarantees it won't sue the SEC itself. At this point, it would not be shocking if Mike Slive just told A&M and the Big 12, "Let's just try this again next year /adds West Virginia and whoever."
Getting into two top-10 TV markets would be nice and all, but this here is a hassle.
Is there a pact between six Big 12 schools to block Texas A&M's move to the SEC by forcing Oklahoma to stay*? No, probably not, despite reports. So how about eight Big 12 schools, all of them except Oklahoma, retaining their rights to sue after the Big 12 told the SEC there definitely wouldn't be any legal hangups? Now we're cooking!
Texas Tech is lumped in that group, though it's already said it doesn't plan to join in any lawsuit. Now Oklahoma State has added its name to the no-suit club, which is crazy, because everyone in Oklahoma wears a suit and drives a Cadillac. I've been there once, for an hour.
You'll note those two schools are also the two most likely to be saved if Oklahoma and Texas end up joining the Pac-12. Maybe that doesn't mean anything. Thanks for listening.
* No, that scheme doesn't make any more sense than it did when it was first reported.
After a Wednesday filled with marvelous insights into what a dorked-up organization the Big 12 is, nothing should really surprise you. So here's this: Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe released a statement saying the promise the conference made to the SEC -- that the SEC wouldn't be sued for admitting Texas A&M -- covered the conference only and not any of its member schools.
A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, with his bow tie whirling at hundreds of rotations per minute, told the Associated Press that none of this quite adds up:
We took this letter very seriously. We asked for such a statement. They gave it to us freely. It says here unanimous vote was taken and yet when we look at Beebe's letter last night it says: `No we didn't really mean that,' and I find that to be rather difficult to digest.
The AP report also cites an email from Beebe to SEC commissioner Mike Slive, which was sent pretty much during the SEC's vote on whether to admit the Aggies. In it, Baylor's name is officially mentioned for the first time as the school doing the most to gum all this up.
Really looking forward to college football season so we can be done with this stuff, am I right?
Update: Let's discount this one. If Oklahoma hasn't been made aware of its own kidnapping, it probably doesn't exist.
The Big 12 is the silliest thing in the world. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald -- which is an actual, long-established newspaper* -- Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech**, Iowa State and Missouri have joined Baylor in opposing Texas A&M's move to the SEC. They'll agree to let the Aggies go if Oklahoma promises not to leave the Big 12.
* Albeit one from Baylor's town.
So, um, how does future SEC team Texas A&M convince potential Pac-12 team Oklahoma to swear itself to the Big 12? I don't even know what we're talking about here. Oklahoma should stick around just to have a great big laugh at Texas A&M.
It's at this point you start to realize everybody's full of everything, if you haven't already. Texas Tech is believed to be one of the four schools with a chance to leave for the Pac-eleventy, by virtue of its connection to Texas. Missouri wanted to leave for the Big Ten last year and is reportedly under consideration for the SEC. Kansas' chancellor recently mentioned the Jayhawks and K-State could legally be split up. Iowa State, you're cool except for the Nickelback thing, so carry on.
As of Sept. 7, the biggest effect the Longhorn Network has had: making the Sooners the most powerful program in college sports. Who saw that coming?
So apparently it's not just the Baylor Bears who aren't happy about the Big 12's big boy programs looking to head east or west or wherever. According to Iowa St. Cyclones spokesman John McCarroll, the Clones haven't waived their rights to legal recourse in case the Texas A&M Aggies join the SEC. (Spoiler alert: the Aggies will join the SEC.)
Not only was Iowa State responsible for a Nickelback-powered weather alert that delayed games across the country and forced two to end early, now they're gonna go and delay conferocalypse while we're all just trying to watch football teams play football. Well this is just great.
In other news, the Arkansas Razorbacks confirmed the Big 12 asked for their hand. This proves the Big 12 is completely insane. In fact, in any lawsuit raised over the matter of a team leaving the Big 12, any court in America will simply take one look at the claim that the Big 12 tried to talk Arkansas into leaving the SEC and conclude that the Big 12 could not possibly have ever existed in reality. So everybody do whatever you want.
For more, visit Iowa State blog Clone Chronicles.
Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, who has many bow ties, had a public word with the Baylor Bears over their sudden change of heart regarding the Aggies' move to the SEC. By all accounts, Baylor's litigious nature is the last obstacle in the way of A&M joining the SEC, which has already accepted the Aggies.
Here are Loftin's remarks:
We are certainly pleased with the action taken last night by the presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference to unanimously accept Texas A&M as the league's 13th member. However, this acceptance is conditional, and we are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in Big 12 Conference. These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on Sept. 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC.
Baylor, we love you for sharing Robert Griffin III with us, but please get out of the way so this can all be gotten over with.
The last critical piece in Texas A&M's relocation has either been resolved or it hasn't, depending on to whom you'd prefer to listen. Have the Baylor Bears agreed not to get litigious if the Aggies switch conferences? (According to a Chip Brown report, more schools besides just Baylor might be keeping their legal options open, but let's focus.)
According to Fox Sports' Matt Mosley, a Baylor alum, every Big 12 school has again agreed not to sue. Last week, the Big 12 sent the SEC a letter promising a lawsuit-free transition. The SEC released that letter today, along with a note that one school had changed its mind. SEC presidents had gathered to vote to accept A&M, but were dismayed to find out about Baylor's involvement.
However, Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News says reports of Baylor agreeing not to sue are inaccurate. Carlton cites a Big 12 source.
If you'd like to read a hunch, here's one: Baylor backed down once the SEC put it on blast. For the good of getting this stuff taken care of so as not to distract from the season itself, let's hope that's the case.
In a statement, the SEC confirmed the news we've been waiting ... well, not really all that long for. The Texas A&M Aggies have been cleared to partake in the conference's expansion once remaining legal issues have been taken care of. The release includes a letter from Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe assuring a clean break with A&M, but notes that as of last night "at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action."
Kind of weird that the Baylor Bears want Texas A&M to stay in the Big 12 so badly. Texas and Oklahoma are the keys to the conference, not A&M. What happens if the two Oklahoma schools, Texas and Texas Tech leave for the Pac-16? Baylor and A&M are going to repopulate the earth together?
Also kind of weird that a religious institution is sort of going back on its word, but that's another story. Hey, A&M! Congratulations.
Here's the statement itself:
After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC.
We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure.
The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011.
According to reports from all over, the SEC has decided to accept the Texas A&M Aggies, who in turn are set to announce the announcement (yes, that's how it works) any minute now. But according to Chuck Carlton, Billy Liucci, Jimmy Burch and Chip Brown, one item remains: making sure the Baylor Bears don't sue.
When the SEC first acknowledged expansion a few weeks ago, Mike Slive made it clear he didn't want any legal snags. The SEC told A&M to handle its business within its conference to ensure a clean break. That's looking like a wise course of action, with Baylor's traditional meddling coming into play.
Some might be surprised to learn Baylor, a smaller school with a subpar football program, holds the last card here. But the university has outsized connections all throughout Texas politics and zero shame in using them.
Ken Starr, longtime legal tormentor of Bill Clinton, is Baylor's president. Former Texas governor Ann Richards is an alum. The school forced its way into the Big 12 in the first place, then forced the thing to stay together last summer. Traditionally, what Baylor wants, Baylor gets. If A&M's move to the SEC is contingent on Baylor not suing, I'll be impressed if it actually happens this week.
We've seen this story before over the course of the last month, but now there appears to be some finality. After weeks of wrangling, back-room dealing and legal vetting, it now appears Texas A&M is headed to the SEC. On Tuesday night, the SEC presidents met, and all signs point to white smoke billowing from the chimney of the venue, indicating a new conference member.
This time around, it's the Fort Worth Star-Telegram calling the deal done, which holds a bit more weight than pay sites and message boards. The formal announcement is expected on Wednesday, though it's unknown when, exactly, the Aggies would begin play as an SEC member.
School officials spent Tuesday preparing for a news conference at Kyle Field to celebrate the move, pending a favorable vote from SEC presidents to extend an invitation. The SEC presidents met Tuesday night and approved an invitation to A&M, said sources with knowledge of the situation, but the SEC made no formal announcement.
So this is it for this round of conference expansion. Everyone can pack it up and head home. Once again it all fizzles out in the end, with only one major move.
Or perhaps not. Now that the SEC is at 13 teams, it'll undoubtedly need a 14th at some point in the near future. A 13-team conference is awkward, and Mike Slive probably hates unlucky numbers. Texas A&M was the front of the storm, and the back brings all kinds of excitement, perhaps in the form of a brave new world without the Big 12 and with super-conferences.
It seems that Texas A&M's move from the Big-12 to the SEC is all but official. According to reports from Orangebloods.com writer Chip Brown, the SEC vote held on Tuesday night concluded with a 10-2 tally in the Aggies favor. An announcement from conference officials is expected on Wednesday.
With the ongoing saga soon reaching a conclusion, the onus now falls to the University of Oklahoma. As the Big-12 slowly falls apart, reports indicate that the Sooners -- along with Oklahoma State -- could be the next members to bolt.
SEC didn't want to touch Missouri for fear of collapsing B12. With B12 on verge of collapse now anyway, SEC may not be so cautious with MU.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet ReplyChip Brown
At this point it's beginning to look like nothing is off the table in this abrupt rush for conference realignment. Needless to say, the next few weeks might get a little interesting.
Do you think Texas A&M will join the SEC on Wednesday? Sure, we all do! Here's the latest piece of information indicating a mid-week announcement is highly likely:
The Zone Club at Kyle Field is reserved for both Wednesday and Thursday for the SEC announcement, A&M insider said. I'm thinking Wed. #mysaless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyBrent Zwerneman
Two days to make one announcement, Aggies? That's no way to endear yourselves to Speed Country by any means, unless you're going to spend the whole time talking about the Atlanta Braves or something.
Once Texas A&M and the SEC complete their long-gestating courtship, all attention will turn to the mystery 14th school that will be needed to balance out the divisions in the conference.
Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, not one to throw around rumors carelessly, says that Big East member West Virginia and Big 12 member Missouri have emerged as the front-runners for that highly-valued spot.
If true, it confirms the "gentleman's agreement" thought to be in place among SEC schools. That understanding is said to ensure that a new SEC member doesn't come from within the same state as a current one, ruling out schools like Florida State and Clemson.
For all the coach-burning jokes, West Virginia would bring with them a fantastic football program and tradition. They'd also bring local character Bob Huggins and a solid basketball program. While not "South South," no one is going to challenge West Virginia's southern street cred anytime soon. Their AD, Oliver Luck, has been outspoken about his school in previous realignment discussions and it's not hard to believe that he would be pushing for such a move.
Meanwhile, everyone knows that Missouri has been a free-agent-in-the-making for over a year now. The Tigers practically threw themselves at the Big Ten in the last go-round. A chance to go to the SEC would be critical for them, since they're likely to get left looking for table scraps otherwise once Oklahoma and Texas depart.
Of course, this is all still just based on a tweet, even if it comes from a respected source. Stay tuned...
The Texas A&M Aggies could be announced as the 13th member of the SEC on Wednesday, or so say Andy Staples, Billy Liucci, Chip Brown and others, though it should be noted one of these said something about Texas and the ACC at some point this week. I'm sorry.
According to the popularly accepted timeline, SEC presidents are putting together their votes Tuesday in anticipation of a vote to accept Texas A&M, because nobody ever votes on things like this without first ensuring the vote is only a formality.
It really would be super to go ahead and get this announced as soon as possible. Feel like we're watching a bunch of freshmen try to figure out the add/drop deadline during their first semester. Classes have started? Classes started in spring. There are EXAMS going on right now.
There's no time like the opening Saturday of the college football season to answer the eternal question: "Wait, who's in which conference now?"
With the impending addition of Texas A&M as their 13th team, the SEC will almost certainly be adding a 14th school at some point in the near or mid-range future. Who will that be?
I don't know if you react to this stuff the same way I do, but when the Virginia Tech Hokies repeatedly deny rumors of their interest in joining the SEC, all I hear is a bluegrass cover of "Enter Sandman." Hey look!
Virginia Tech spokesman Larry Hincker called the rumors "poppycock" to David Teel, then later expressed frustration that "people are making things up." This is after athletic director Jim Weaver called the ACC "the perfect conference for us."
Thus, the Hokies have denied the SEC thrice. Missouri, Louisville, FSU and other rumored SEC candidates have all said the same things, but not with quite the same frequency as has Virginia Tech.
Maybe that means the Hokies actually aren't interested, but why would it matter what people think if they're actually not considering a jump? There would be no big loss in having people around the country talk about Virginia Tech athletics, especially if people think its football program is good enough to earn SEC admission. That's great publicity!
Losing the Hokies would put the ACC in a tough spot, as they'd likely have to grab a Big East school to replace their most productive football program. The main snag in the way of the SEC potentially taking VPI, as far as I can tell, is SEC commissioner Mike Slive's history of a working relationship with ACC commissioner John Swofford, not to mention ESPN, which stands to benefit from both a strong SEC and ACC.
Still, Virginia Tech's conference affiliation is going to be a topic until that 14th team is chosen. It could be 11 months before that happens, so expect more denials along the way.
For more, visit Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has responded to Texas A&M's promise to leave the conference in 2012 by promising to expand membership, rather than condense. Texas A&M is widely believed to be in the process of trying to join the SEC, where it would be the western-most outpost of the currently 12-team conference. This surely means another round of conference musical chairs awaits us as various schools pine to join the new, watered down Big 12.
"Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin has notified the Conference of his decision to withdraw the university from the Big 12 effective June 30, 2012," Beebe said in a statement. "The presidents and chancellors of the nine remaining member institutions are steadfast in their commitment to the Big 12. As previously stated, the Conference will move forward aggressively exploring its membership options."
The Aggies are widely believed to be attempting to join the SEC and would leave the Big 12 with just nine schools. It's unclear whether the conference will attempt to get back to 12 or settle for 10. Among the schools that have been identified as possible candidates are current SEC team Arkansas and Notre Dame, which is currently an independent. More realistic targets include former Southwestern Conference teams Houston and SMU.
After a short delay and several denials from all over the place, Texas A&M has announced it will leave the Big 12 and seek conference affiliation elsewhere. The Aggies expect to leave the conference on June 30, 2012, and join a new mystery conference shortly thereafter. No, their new conference destination is not a mystery, as they've been yearning to join the SEC for quite some time now.
From the statement:
"After much thought and consideration, and pursuant to the action of the (Texas A&M University System) Board of Regents authorizing me to take action related to Texas A&M University's athletic conference alignment, I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference," President R. Bowen Loftin wrote to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe in the letter dated August 31, 2011.
"We appreciate the Big 12's willingness to engage in a dialogue to end our relationship through a mutually agreeable settlement," Loftin added. "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."
So there we have it. Texas A&M has gotten its wish and will leave Texas to rule the increasingly diminishing Big 12 (you can hear Texas' sobbing from here, can't you?), the SEC will soon enter the Lone Star State and presumably look to pick up a complementing 14th team.
The 2011-12 academic year will see the final seasons of Big 12 football, basketball and other sports for A&M, and you can bet this year's Texas-Texas A&M football game is going to be a pretty big deal.
For more, visit Texas A&M blog I Am The 12th Man.
According to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, Texas A&M is denying it's warned the Big 12 that a conference exit is coming soon. The New York Times' Pete Thamel had reported Monday night that the Aggies told the conference it would formally withdraw on Tuesday, clearing the way for the school to request membership in the SEC.
So, whatever, this is all happening. People deny things.
Texas A&M will join the SEC, and it will probably begin to officially happen at some point this week. Early this week, Lord willing. Exactly how far along the process is and when the Aggies will announce they've left the Big 12 is up in the air, but we know we're just a few steps away from the announcement of a press conference to announce things that get announced at press conferences.
The Texas A&M Aggies were reportedly expected to announce their departure from the Big 12 on Tuesday, but apparently have given the conference a little bit of a head start on digesting the news. How, oh how, would the Big 12 make it through the day unless it had been given some sort of forewarning that the Aggies are leaving?
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The New York Times' Pete Thamel reports Texas A&M president "R. Bowen Loftin sent a letter to the Big 12 board chairman, the Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, notifying the league that the Aggies would formally withdraw." Thamel reports the announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday.
Ducks all in a row and so forth. If everything goes according to plan, hopefully the SEC will scoop up the Aggies on Wednesday and we can get down to the business of football teams playing football.
According to Chip Brown of orangebloods.com, Texas A&M will formally withdraw from the Big 12 Conference on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, the university received a letter from Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe that outlined "the withdrawal procedures according to the financial provisions of the Big 12 bylaws and mutual waivers of legal claims," Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Texas A&M informed Beebe of their intentions to move to the Southeastern Conference, a situation that was discussed by the conference's board of directors over the weekend. Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin issued the following statement on Monday:
"I certainly appreciate the discussion among the Big 12 presidents/chancellors and the expression for their desire for Texas A&M to remain in the conference," Loftin wrote. "We all agree that Texas A&M is an extremely valuable institution; thus, it is incumbent upon me, as the president of the university, to ensure that we are in a position to enhance our national visibility and future financial opportunity. While this is a complex and long-term decision, it is not our intent to prolong our conference exploration for an extended period of time."
After a weekend teleconference with the Texas A&M Aggies, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has sent the school a letter detailing the separation process the two parties are looking at, the Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton reports. The biggest piece of information: the sides have agreed to "waivers of legal claims" from here on out.
In other words, not to sue each other if everything goes according to plan.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive made it clear he wanted the onboarding of the Aggies to come without any legal snags. If the letter from Beebe is any indication, it sounds like that step may have been met.
So when would a move to the SEC be announced? Carlton quotes A&M president R. Bowen Loftin, he of many bow ties, as saying, "it is not our intent to prolong our conference exploration for an extended period of time."
You'd have to hope they'd announce realignment before Thursday so as not to interfere with the regular season. Who else is ready to put this stuff on ice for a few months?
With Texas A&M to the SEC an all-but done deal, it's time to start talking about which team the SEC might invite to maintain their conference's even number of members. It's totally not, because it's GAME WEEK PEOPLE, but let's do it anyway!
Monday, CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd listed Virginia Tech, Louisville, Maryland, North Carolina and Missouri as the most likely candidates for that last spot. Here are a few quick notes on each, in no particular order:
Maryland: The Maryland Terrapins are the newest addition to the speculation list. They'd theoretically provide the SEC the D.C. and Baltimore TV markets, but I'd be surprised to see the conference sell a team that far north to its Yankee-suspicious fan base. Unless you assure them they'd get to try again to sack the White House this time around.
Virginia Tech: Tech AD Jim Weaver has already said his school would decline a SEC invite, which you should take to mean absolutely nothing. The Hokies fit just about everything the SEC is looking for -- they're a solid football school that delivers at least one new TV market, they'd open up those eastern Virginia recruiting grounds and they're a national football brand. There are now murmurings that the Hokies would change their tune if invited, which, duh.
Missouri: Mizzou has likewise denied interest, but they too field a recently strong football program that could pick off portions of both the St. Louis and Kansas City markets. Like VPI, they'd butt the SEC right up against the Big Ten's turf while still remaining technically southern, which would draw widely mixed reviews from everybody down here.
Louisville: Loovul has (SURPRISE!) also downplayed their SEC desires, but come on. You guys play in a basketball arena named after fried chicken. Adding the upstart football program, and one of the nation's few noticeably profitable basketball programs (note we've made it this far without even mentioning non-football sports?), might make up for putting off the Kentucky Wildcats, who've supposedly held some sort of gentlemen's agreement with Georgia, Florida and South Carolina not to admit any schools from current SEC states.
I really don't get what the SEC would gain by adding the Cards.
North Carolina: I lied when I said these weren't in any particular order. North Carolina, you're a SEC school whether the world yet realizes it or not. You're lumped in with Duke due to college basketball's best rivalry, but let's be honest. Duke's football team isn't being torn apart for rampant cheating, now are they? Thus, some part of you cares about football more than any of us would like to admit.
If I were in charge of the SEC, UNC would be my choice. The Heels fit the SEC profile better than most realize, but I don't know if Mike Slive would kneecap his associate John Swofford by taking away the ACC's most important team. (FSU and Virginia Tech are more important for football, but UNC is the state school of the ACC's heartland, the cog in multiple rivalries central to the conference and, if the talent Butch Davis brought in is any example, a sleeping football giant.)
Virginia Tech and Missouri look like the best bets at this point, not that you'd be well-advised to wager on any of this. Hey look, football games to bet on!
We always talk about the "four 16-team conference" scenarios as the conference realignment end game, but without dissolving all conferences and starting over, that really isn't an option.
It appears the Texas A&M to the SEC move may happen sooner rather than later, if the latest reports are true. Texas A&M took the first step towards leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC last week, sending the Big 12 a letter as part of a formal process. However, that first step will likely turn into multiple more steps, resulting in the Aggies becoming the 13th member of the SEC for the 2012 season.
According to reports, the move could happen this week, meaning the Texas A&M would announce accept an SEC invitation before the football season begins.
As for the timing of such a move, that person said, "it would not be a surprise that it would happen sometime this week" and likely the only thing that could keep that from happening would be if the 12-team SEC determines it is not ready to add any more teams at this point.
The Big 12 Board of Directors held a call on Saturday and the Aggies impending move was reportedly the major discussion of the day. Texas A&M will likely have to pay a significant penalty to the Big 12 to leave the conference, though the Aggies would gladly pay to get out and move to what's perceived as greener pastures.
For now, Texas A&M is moving quickly, and this next round of expansion could be over in the next seven days -- at least until the SEC goes searching for a 14th team.
Thursday, Texas A&M posted a note on its website that it's told the Big 12 it plans to explore its conference affiliation options and that it would like to know what its next step should be if it decides to leave.
Call it another step to the school leaving the Big 12 for the SEC if you like, but it's pretty much just a letter that confirms everything we've already known. But hey! A letter confirming everything we've already known! Even if the process is moving at a much more sensible pace than Aggies fans had hoped for a couple weeks ago, it's still progressing.
In a letter to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, school president R. Bowen Loftin said:
If the university withdraws from the conference, Texas A&M would do so in a way that complies with the Big 12's bylaws. Additionally, Texas A&M would be supportive of the Big 12's efforts to seek a new member of the conference.
"As I have indicated previously, we are working very deliberately to act in the best long-term interests of both Texas A&M and the State of Texas. This truly is a 100-year decision," said Loftin. "While we understand the desire of all parties to quickly reach a resolution, these are extremely complex issues that we are addressing methodically."
"Ultimately, 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 added. "As a public university, Texas A&M owes it to the state's taxpayers to maximize our assets and generate additional revenues both now and well into the future."
Ahhh, the old maximizing-taxpayer-assets card. Always a strong move in the state of Texas.
The wheels of expansion keep on turning, and though Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin was mum about his plans for the Aggies after the Board of Regents granted him the power to make conference alignment decisions, others took a more direct approach. While Monday's decision was widely seen as the first big step towards the Aggies leaving for the SEC, nothing is set in stone and there's still a process to be followed. But that doesn't mean Texas A&M officials are speaking out about the SEC, Big 12 and the Aggies' future.
For instance, the lone finalist for the vacant Texas A&M chancellor position, John Sharp, told reporters he thinks the SEC is a "win-win situation" and is all for the Aggies changing allegiances.
And if the Aggies do leave, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe may shoot for the stars in an effort to replace them.
"They will leave," the Big 12 administrator told the American-Statesman on Monday night. "We'll try to add one or three teams." The administrator added that the Big 12 will try to persuade Notre Dame and Brigham Young to consider joining the league if A&M departs .
It sure seems like Notre Dame and BYU are nothing more than a pipe dream. The latter has shown nothing that would indicate it would rather join a conference and the former just fled the MWC for its own independence. But hey, it never hurts to dream big, right?
As the Greek tragedy of the Big 12 Conference unfolds and Texas A&M moves closer and closer to leaving for the SEC Conference, the two commissioners are taking center stage as they fight for what each of them want.
According to the New York Times' Pete Thamel, the Big 12's Dan Beebe and the SEC's Mike Slive spoke last week and the conversation veered away from small-talk rather quickly.
The Big 12’s Dan Beebe and the SEC’s Mike Slive had a heated phone conversation last week about a potential move, according to a high-ranking college official with direct knowledge of the call.
Beebe has since denied that the conversation ever took place:
"We have been very direct but have not had any conversations with MIke Slive I would describe as heated, ever," Beebe stated via a tweet from Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News shortly after the Times’ article was published.
Of course, I suppose it all depends on how you define "heated." "Heated" as in the rivalry between Iowa State and Baylor or "heated" in how Texas A&M feels about Texas? Cause there's a big difference.
Texas A&M is proceeding as planned on Monday, a day after the SEC opted not to take any action on expansion at this time. Of course, at this time meant on Sunday, and it's likely the SEC will revisit expansion after the Texas A&M Board of Regents meets and makes its intention to leave the Big 12 known. And it could happen at around 3 p.m. local time in College Station.
The Board of Regents plans to meet at 3 p.m. on College Station to discuss, among other things, giving Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin the ability to steer the Aggies towards whichever conference he pleases.
Item 15 - Authorization for the President to Take All Actions Relating to Texas A&M University's Athletic Conference Alignment, Texas A&M University
As far as anyone can tell, the agenda item related to alignment is simply a rubber-stamp. By transferring the authority to Loftin, A&M would kick the proverbial domino, setting into motion a chain of events that likely, though not certainly, results in the Aggies joining the SEC, perhaps as early as 2012.
The meeting is scheduled to last an hour and if Loftin does emerge with the ability to make conference alignment decisions, the SEC expansion party will kick back into high-gear.
The entire Texas A&M to the SEC situation is really very simple: if you're going to set something on fire, be sure you collect the insurance payment. Spencer Hall explains the usual anarchy.
Texas A&M's move to the SEC is on hold, but it's still quite likely that the Aggies could join the conference in the near future, and according to some, it all comes back to Presidential candidate Rick Perry. After the SEC's statement on Sunday promised "no action", there have been plenty of subsequent reports to indicate the realignment process was paused, not stopped altogether.
So what does this have to do with one of the Republican party's leading candidates for the 2012 Presidential nomination? Everything, according to one political writer. Rick Perry, currently the governor of Texas, is the most prominent Aggie alum in the state, and probably the country.
By championing his alma mater's move to the SEC, Perry has a way to ingratiate himself to the Deep South--a demographic that could prove invaluable come election time. As Paul Burka writes, "It is a way for Perry to validate himself as a southerner. In one bold move–and don’t think for a moment that Perry didn’t orchestrate this–Perry has used A&M to leverage himself into prominence in the South, an area where a Republican presidential candidate must run well. The A&M culture and the southern culture mesh well."
Sure, from afar, it's pretty preposterous to think a politician would use college football to get himself elected President, but then... The only game more cynical than college football is politics. Right?
When the SEC presidents decided Sunday not to take a vote on any conference realignment matters, the signal that many people received was that Texas A&M's overtures were being rebuffed. In fact, all that merely did was let everyone know that there was going to be a time for discovery and discussion and both sides were going to take advantage of it.
Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin made a statement Sunday that reiterated as much and let everyone know that the Aggies will continue to meet, discuss and vote on the idea of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
As we have seen over the past several days, there has been a considerable amount of misinformation regarding these discussions and any associated timelines. The chairman of our board has indicated that the regents will proceed with tomorrow's agenda item, which authorizes the president of Texas A&M to take all actions related to athletic conference alignment. I will also accept Chairman [Dan] Branch's invitation to participate in his committee's hearing on Tuesday. These are extremely complex issues, and it is imperative that we proceed methodically and in the best interests of Texas A&M.
SI's Andy Staples has a great article up for anyone interested on the current status of Texas A&M, the SEC and what it all means. Of course, the easy answer is that it means a lot more money in those Aggie pockets. As well as the SEC's.
There is more money for Texas A&M in the SEC. In fact, Texas A&M probably is more valuable to the SEC than it is to the Big 12. Remember, the SEC signed media rights deals in 2009 with CBS and ESPN worth $3 billion over 15 years...Now, imagine how much those deals would be worth if the population of the SEC's geographic footprint suddenly increased by 42 percent. That's how many potential viewers the SEC would add by including a major Texas team.
Although the SEC's chairman of the Board of Presidents and Chancellors announced earlier Sunday that "no action would be taken" at this time, reports that Texas A&M's move to college football's dominant conference is dead would appear premature:
According to Clay Travis, talk of expansion is only being tabled for a few days, and Athletic Directors are scheduled to meet Wednesday to further discuss the move. A reported hangup of the deal is the conference is looking for another team, bring the total number of teams in the conference to 14.
This whole situation is very murky, with conflicting reports about meetings between SEC officials and no one really sure who started the whole proceedings in the first place. I doubt the meeting on Wednesday resolves anything, but all eyes are on College Station for the first time in what seems like a millenium.
SEC expansion has been put on hold, at least for the time being. Dr. Bernie Machen, the chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors, has released a statement indicating that "no action" will be taken on accepting Texas A&M into the league as of right now. The statement did, however, leave the door open for the league to accept Texas A&M in the future.
"The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment. We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion. No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M."
That should probably end the thought of Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 for the time being. One potential problem may have been that the SEC could not find another team to join with Texas A&M. The league had suggested it would only add Texas A&M if a 14th team could be found.
The SEC expansion rumors had various people reporting that the Southeastern Conference would have a secret meeting to consider Texas A&M as its newest member. Said meeting may or may not have happened on Sunday morning, however, depending on who is reporting on it.
The Associated Press confirmed Saturday's New York Times report saying that the current SEC members would be meeting on Sunday in Atlanta to see if everyone wants A&M in their power conference, but The Sporting News is reporting that no such meeting was scheduled to take place.
The New York Times reported that 11 of 12 SEC presidents are planning to meet Sunday. However, a Sporting News source very close to the situation said that no such discussion or meeting is planned.
The source also confirmed that, to date, there has been no formal discussion about which program, if there is a Texas A&M addition, could join the conference next. But, the source added, there is no chance of the expansion stretching beyond 14 teams.
Considering there hasn't been any news to come out about the meeting as of this writing, it seems the Sporting News may have had correct information. Since it was deemed a secret meeting, though, maybe it did actually happen and there just weren't any members of the committee willing to blab to the media.
The Big 12 Board of Directors held a teleconference on Saturday as rumors of Texas A&M's departure to the SEC swirled. Unhappy with Texas' Longhorn Network, Texas A&M has reportedly been exploring options to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC. Nothing is final, but the Texas A&M Board of Regents is set to meet on Monday to give the school's president the power to make conference alignment decisions, which would be a step towards the Aggies joining the SEC.
However, the press release sent out following the Big 12 meeting makes it sound as though the other nine conference members are pushing to keep Texas A&M. The release also includes a vague line about addressing institutional network concerns.
The Board strongly conveyed to Texas A&M its unanimous desire that it remain a Big 12 member, and acknowledged its value to the Conference. The Board noted that Texas A&M expressed concerns about institutional networks and that the athletics directors worked together and took actions, which the Board has approved, to adequately address those concerns.
What that last line means is anyone's guess, nor does the press release give away whether Texas A&M will stay or go. Instead, the other nine members pledge solidarity, with the Aggies still up in the air. It's anyone's guess as to whether this meeting will end up being like the Big 12 meeting in 2010 that stopped the wheels of expansion, at least temporarily.
Texas A&M is not quite SEC-bound yet, and if comments from Texas Longhorns' athletic director DeLoss Dodds are any indication, the Big 12 still wants the Aggies. Saturday's statement flies in the face of a previous statement from commissioner Dan Beebe, who essentially said the Big 12 will move forward with or without Texas A&M, should the Aggies head to the SEC. But now, it appears the Big 12 may put up a fight in an effort to keep its conference at 10 members.
Here is what Dodds had to say (via Austin Statesman reporter Kirk Bohls).
Texas AD DeLoss Dodds says after B12 AD meeting, he doesn't know if A&M's leaving, said "everyone wants them to stay. We've been playing them for more than 100 years," Dodds says. "Its' hard. Is A&M leaving for sure? I don't know that."
There are a few things going on here, and it could be another posturing situation. The Aggies could very well be wanted by everyone, or Dodds could be posturing. Nobody wants to be the bad guy in conference expansion, and no matter what happens, everyone will be positioning themselves to walk away with clean hands. It's all a mystery, and part of the politicking that goes on during these games.
It's beginning to feel a lot like deja vu in the conference realignment extravaganza of 2011. In fact, it's felt like deja vu all along, but many of the same maneuvers we saw in 2010 are happening again. Now, it's the Texas lawmakers' turns to jump into the fray and weigh-in, with at least one requesting the legislature be given a chance to probe the conference realignment implication.
One question still remains: Does Texas A&M even have an offer? According to Rep. Dan Branch, the answer seems to be unclear, though he's under the impression no offer has been made yet.
“It is not my understanding that they are meeting to complete or accept an offer to the SEC if one’s extended. To finalize such an action before giving legislators a chance to ask some questions would be inappropriate, highly inappropriate.”
Branch adds that he doesn't believe the Aggies hold an offer as of now, based upon his own conversations with officials.
Again, it all could simply be posturing, and we've seen these sentiments before. With the way the rumor mill is churning, nobody is quite sure what's going on or when it will happen, but it appears A&M could be SEC-bound as soon as next week. Unless, of course, plans change last-minute, which is always a possibility.
Now that Texas A&M has made its intentions clear that it wants to join the SEC, the league has been looking around trying to find a team to become its 14th in the conference. Thus far, there have been public denials issued by Missouri and Florida State. Now, you can add Clemson to that list.
Clemson president James Barker told The Post and Courier in Charleston that the school has not been in touch with the SEC at all during the process. He added that the school remains "committed" to the ACC. Clemson's name originally came up in an ESPN report suggesting the league was looking to expand to 16 teams and had targeted Florida State, Missouri and Clemson. An SEC official strongly denied the report to Pete Thamel of the New York Times.
Given the SEC's preference to have 14 teams and not simply add only Texas A&M, it appears this whole process still has a ways to go before a resolution is met.
Texas A&M University has all but decided that it will leave the Big 12 to join the SEC, but will the SEC accept Texas A&M? The league is expected to make that decision in a secret meeting on Sunday, and according to Pete Thamel of the New York Times, there is a chance the league will vote against allowing Texas A&M into the conference.
The meeting will feature 11 of the 12 SEC president. An SEC official tells Thamel that there is a "30 to 40 percent chance" those presidents will vote against Texas A&M's admission, mostly due to concerns that a 14th team cannot be found.
"We realize if we do this, we have to have the 14th," the SEC official said. "No name has been thrown out. This thing is much slower out of the shoot than the media and blogs have made it."
Some of the possible teams mentioned as SEC targets include Florida State, Missouri and Clemson. Missouri's athletic director has already shot down rumors that the Tigers will leave the Big 12. Florida State did the same on Friday night.
The SEC expansion rumors have been flowing fast and furious recently and, apparently, they won't take any breaks for the weekend. The most recent rumors suggest that Missouri won't be joining the Southeastern Conference, but Clemson might.
Doug Gottlieb sent out a Tweet saying that Missouri was one of those interested in moving to the SEC along with Florida State, Texas A&M and the aforementioned Clemson. Florida State and Texas A&M were already mentioned in earlier rumors, so only Clemson and Mizzou was considered new information.
According to Missouri athletic director Mike Alden, however, Gottlieb's sources were wrong. Alden told Vahe Gregorian that "there's nothing" to Gottlieb's report and his team won't be heading to the SEC.
The report that Clemson and Florida State could both be moving from the ACC to the SEC is still pretty interesting, however, as it seems the Southeastern Conference is trying to make some sort of Super Effective Conference (or whatever 'E' word that could be inserted there to keep the SEC acronym in tact).
Keep an eye on SEC expansion chatter over at Team Speed Kills.
Rumors of a possible SEC expansion have been flying all week, and now, it looks like they are legitimate. Texas A&M is indeed expected to announce that it is leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC, according to a report by Brett Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle. The school has reportedly called a 3 p.m. meeting for Monday, and shortly thereafter, they are expected to make the announcement.
The school's decision-makers are expected to vote on Monday to give the school president the right to decide, which essentially means it is only a matter of time until it becomes official. Texas A&M's expected move will give the league 13 teams, and speculation is flying that the league will look to invite other teams to get back to an even number.
Nothing appears to be official yet, but with the school calling the meeting and the SEC expected to meet to hold up their end of the bargain over the weekend, it appears to be only a matter of time.
Texas, which is now basically the acknowledged landlord of the Big 12, has issued a statement on Texas A&M’s rumored decision to leave. It’s not exactly a “you’ll-be-missed” farewell.
At this point we do not know if Texas A&M is leaving the Big 12. All we know is what we read and hear in the media. We are actively looking at every possible option we have and have been talking to other Big 12 schools. We are strong supporters and members of the Big 12. We’d be disappointed if Texas A&M leaves but, if they do, we wish them well.
Whether you blame Texas or A&M for the increasingly likely break-up of the Big 12, it’s looking more and more like this relationship is beyond repair. That’s exasperation you see practically oozing from the statement.
On the other hand, the remaining Big 12 schools should welcome Texas’ statement that it plans to continue supporting what’s left of the conference. Of course, we’ve seen what these statements of loyalty mean when the college football world is becoming unglued — very little. Just look at what Texas A&M said about the Big 12 last year, and you’ll get an idea of how much those missives are worth.
As most college football folks have surmised, if the SEC were to accept Texas A&M as it's 13th member, it would immediately go looking for a 14th in order to even things out. Since the Aggies would undoubtedly join the SEC West, the 14th school would become a member of the SEC East division, meaning it's likely to come from a state such as North Carolina or, say, Florida.
So it's natural that Florida State jumped to the top of many people's list as the main candidate. And according to a report in the Palm Beach Post, the rumors of Florida State actually wanting to make the move from the ACC to the SEC were "real."
Florida State President Eric Barron talked to the Associated Press about the FSU-to-SEC rumors on Friday saying "I don't think there is anything to talk about right now. I don't speculate when there's no conversation." ACC President John Swofford also said that he has received "no indication from any of our 12 presidents that they have any intention of being affiliated with any conference other than the ACC."
So, there you go.
The Texas A&M rumors -- and SEC expansion rumors -- are accelerating at a breakneck pace, with reports coming from all angles and indicating about a million different things on this fine Friday afternoon. The latest report indicating the SEC plans to hold a special media seems to have been shot down, and all the action seems to be taking place in College Station at this point. And boy is there action in College Station, including a Board of Regents meeting that could have a large impact on the Aggies' conference home.
The key point in the Board of Regents agenda, which is set for Monday, is the following, which calls for the Texas A&M president to be given authority to take whatever actions necessary relating to alignment.
Item 15 – Authorization for the President to Take All Actions Relating to Texas A&M University’s Athletic Conference Alignment, The Texas A&M University System
If we're reading this correctly, it sounds as though the agenda item is a rubber-stamp. The Board of Regents will transfer the authority for conference decisions to the president, and that will be that from the Aggies' side.
We're inside three weeks 'til the kickoff of the 2011 college football season; a mere 20 days stand between a slavering audience and the majesty of Murray State-Louisville, so what's on the lips of a skyrocketing number of NCAA pundits from Miami to Seattle? Conference realignment! What else? It seems Texas A&M, weary of all the intangible advantages the Longhorn Network seems poised to hand the hated Longhorns, and pretty well-versed in threatening to leave the Big 12 after last summer's go-round, have begun the slow beat to drum the Aggies into the SEC. Didn't we just do this?
• According to our friends at Rivals, the university could vote to join the SEC for the 2012 season on August 22. A university spokesman denies a deal is already in place, and beyond that named sources dry out completely.
• The Texas House Higher Education Committee has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, August 16 to discuss the future of the university's athletic program. A terse note confirming such is available here. What Texas state politicians do at this juncture will be a not-to-be-missed sideshow.
• And if they want to go, is it even up to them? Not without a vote-in from the SEC presidents, who may or may not be meeting on this very topic.
• So what if the university decides this is a bad idea, again? They might still have to go or risk looking like petulant snit-pitchers.
• And who might accompany Texas A&M in a hypothetical bolt to the SEC? Florida State (who would likely face shrieking opposition from Florida)! Or Virginia Tech (who say they'd turn the invite down, probably!) Or nobody at all, including Texas A&M, because seriously, it's not that we're necessarily opposed to or not entertained by the machinations of the superconference race, but we're so close to real, live, actual football, and talking about anything else in the 20 days between us and it just seems like an exhausting waste of your time and ours.
Late Thursday afternoon, a bombshell was dropped on the Big 12. According to AggieYell.com, disgruntled conference old-timer Texas A&M officially jumped ship, hitching their wagon to the SEC.
However, at this point the announcement appears wildly premature, as multiple beat writers have made clear. Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News reports "with 100 percent certainty" that no terms have been reached. SB Nation's Team Speed Kills agreed, explaining that there are still "a few finishing touches to be done," while the Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman extrapolated:
While all signs still point to Ags to the SEC, was just assured it by no means is a done deal -- plenty of issues to address.
The Texas A&M fiasco is a direct result of Texas' "Longhorn Network" -- a university-run, ESPN-funded television station that was scheduled to air high school football games. As news of the network and its obvious recruiting implications leaked out, the rift between Texas and the rest of the Big 12 grew deeper, eventually leading to the current situation. While nothing is official yet, if Texas A&M does leave the already shrunken conference, the ensuing trickle-down effect should be fascinating to watch.
Texas Governor Rick Perry offered indications that someone in some fashion involved with Texas A&M is considering leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News reports. This is one percent more substantial than a tweet from a stranger would be, as Perry is famous.
"I'll be real honest with you. I just read about it the same time as y'all did...As far as I know, conversations are being had," said Perry. "That's frankly all I know. I just refer you to the university and the decision-makers over there."
Texas A&M and Oklahoma are not happy with the recruiting edge they feel the Longhorn Network will provide the University of Texas, and are supposedly considering bolting for the SEC. The upstart network will broadcast Texas high school games, and while ESPN will reportedly select the games, Big 12 rivals are concerned the exposure will steer recruits to the Longhorns.
With the state's governor, an A&M alum, keeping the issue in the news, Texas A&M issued the following statement:
"President Loftin is committed to doing what is best for Texas A&M not only now, but also into the future. We continue to have wide-ranging conversations regarding all aspects of the university, including both academics and athletics."
For more on the Aggies, visit I Am The 12th Man.
Texas A&M and Oklahoma are so concerned about the recruiting advantage that the University of Texas will receive with their Longhorn Network, the two schools could consider a move to the SEC, Matt Hayes of The Sporting News reports.
When Texas was considering leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10 last year, Texas A&M and Oklahoma engaged in talks with the SEC about joining their conference.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive is comfortable with the current 12-team format, but is willing to do what's in the best interest of the conference.
"It is my job to make sure the SEC is the premiere league," Slive said. "For me to exclude any action that would preclude that from happening would be inappropriate."
Set to launch next month, the Longhorn Network will be television high school games within the state of Texas. Though ESPN will select the high school games the network will air, that they're being broadcast at all could be perceived by their Big 12 rivals as a way of steering top recruits to Austin.
How powerful is the University of Texas? So powerful it can convince its two biggest rivals not to leave for the premier league in college football. Oklahoma President David L. Boren revealed today that both OU and Texas A&M had formal invites to ditch the already reduced Big 12 for seemingly greener pastures in the SEC. This was apparently before the reworked conference contract that increased TV revenues for all the Big 12, and after Nebraska had already left for the Big 10. So what stopped them? “Because the SEC offer didn’t include Oklahoma State and Texas, he didn’t consider it a good option.”
ESPN money and SEC competition apparently are no match for the pull of Texas.
If Arkansas is, in fact, considering a move west to the Big 12, they're certainly doing a bang-up job of hiding their intentions. Athletic director Jeff Long's statement would seem to leave no wiggle room for speculation:
In recent weeks and months, there has been much national dialogue regarding conference affiliation in intercollegiate athletics. In the course of that dialogue, some have suggested that the University of Arkansas was an institution that may be pursued by other conferences. From the beginning, we have been very clear that the University of Arkansas is a proud member of the Southeastern Conference and has no interest in joining another conference. Chancellor [Dave] Gearhart has been unwavering in his support of our institution’s continued membership in the SEC. Recent events have not in any way altered our commitment or desire to remain a member of what we believe is the strongest conference in the nation.
For the uninitiated, these rumors show up with comfortable regularity 'round Fayetteville way this time of year, are largely perpetrated by aged boosters and have yet to come to anything. But then again, this is no ordinary year, and extraordinary jumpiness is to be expected.
Join the discussion of all things Big 12 at SBN Kansas City.
On Wednesday, a report emerged that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would like to see Arkansas (and Notre Dame) join the Big 12 which would instantly make it one of the top conferences.
According to Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com (via Twitter), that report has some legs.
Sources tell OB Arkansas has definitely put out feelers about possibly joining the Big 12, but the B12 votes don't appear to be there yet.
Arkansas has a better chance of joining than Notre Dame but its unclear if Jones was implying the two are a package deal.
Arkansas, since joining the SEC, has seen its national profile drop. If it joined the Big 12, it would get back part of its Texas recruiting base as well as some relevance.
Jerry Jones is a powerful man and, most importantly, has lots of cash and influence to make something happen. This is a situation worth monitoring.
They might be the team of the 12th man but Texas A&M is about to become the 13th team in the SEC, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
Aggies’ blog I Am The 12th Man has already come to the conclusion that joining the SEC is the right choice for the school.
Geographically, A&M is a much better fit in the SEC than the Pac-10. The farthest game from College Station would be a thousand miles to go play in Columbia, South Carolina; the Oregon State campus in Corvallis, Oregon is over twice that distance. Aggie fans would have to fly to almost every game if they join the PAC 16; all SEC games (save South Carolina) are within a days drive. For all the talk of breaking up traditions, college football has traditionally favored regional rivalries. Texas A&M resides in the southern region and has historical rivalries with teams throughout the South. We have no regional affiliation with the West Coast…
I have heard from multiple people that A&M will get killed in the SEC. I realize everyone who has said that is talking about football (we should fare quite well in all other sports). I would make the argument that if we are going to get killed in the SEC in two years, we would get killed in the PAC 16 also. This decision is not about two year from now or five years from now. This decision is about the next 50 years. The SEC is the right move for A&M for today and for the future.
Tennessee blog Rocky Top Talk wonders if A&M is the 13th team, who will be No. 14? The answer might surprise you.
If you assume expansion is going to happen and the SEC isn’t going to stay exactly where it is…I think the best case scenario is going to 14 teams, and adding Texas A&M and Virginia Tech.
A&M and Virginia Tech wouldn’t be the sort of overwhelming addition the way Texas and Oklahoma would’ve been. But you can have too much of a good thing, and I think had we put those two schools in what’s already the best conference in college football, life would’ve been awfully tough for everybody.
With A&M and VT, you’re adding two great football schools in two brand new states. In more ways than not, Virginia Tech is a better fit than even Florida State – the Hokies have been more successful recently, and while FSU certainly still has some level of national appeal, we already have a school in the state of Florida, and there would be much less strife among the existing schools in adding the Hokies.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a legit happening in sports if there wasn’t a t-shirt associated with it. Courtesy of Alabama blog Roll Bama Roll…
A report in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday night says that Texas A&M, which has been mulling the possibility of leaving the Big 12 Conference for the Pac-10 along with other teams, will instead join the SEC as its 13th school.
A&M’s board of regents likely will meet late this week — perhaps as soon as Thursday — to decide the Aggies’ sporting future, a person with knowledge of the situation said. And that future appears to be the SEC, as the powerful league to the east is prepared to lure A&M away from the clinging-to-hope Big 12, a proposed Pacific-10 affiliation and its storied league rivalry with Texas.
The SEC is prepared to take on the Aggies as its 13th team, the insider said, with no clear timeframe on when it would add a 14th or whom that would be.
Officially the school says it has not spurned overtures from the Pac-10 and it hasn't closed the door on remaining with the Big 12 as it struggles to maintain an existence.
The move would almost certainly end the school's traditional Thanksgiving Day game against the University of Texas. Then again, with the Longhorns likely heading to the Pac-10, that might have been a foregone conclusion.
The one league that seemed to not to be looking into expanding was the SEC what with their latest 15 year and nearly $3 billion television contract between ESPN and CBS. SEC commissioner Mike Slive says their league is going to stay pat with their twelve members for the next year, but is going to be pro-active if super leagues start forming:
"Given the success we've experienced over the past decade, we are comfortable in the position in which we find ourselves," he said. "Having said that, if there's going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm, the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful in order to maintain its position as one of the nation's premiere conferences."
The league is conducting internal studies about the expansion topic to weigh the pros and cons, but Slive has said no teams have been discussed. This where the fun game of speculation comes in to try and pick out a few teams that the SEC would go after if they were to expand. If the 16 team super conferences become a reality, the SEC should go for a home run and go after Texas, Texas A&M, Miami, and Florida State.
Outside of landing the two Texas schools -- mainly University of Texas -- the SEC really has no benefit in expanding beyond what they have now.
The SEC is in something of a catbirdish position while all this Big Ten expansion namby-pamby swirls about, and rather than, say, wonder aloud how adding more teams to the Big Ten might help Ohio State win a national title game played against one of his football teams, conference commish Mike Slive very graciously told assembled media types tonight that while monumental shifts in the college football landscape might eventually force the conference to self-embiggen, he's quite pleased with the way things are, thanks. SBN's Team Speed Kills opines on why knee-jerk expansion on the part of the SEC would be highly silly and unlikely:
"Keeping up" is an awful reason to expand. Only two conferences have gone past 12 members recently. The WAC went to 16 in the '90s and imploded shortly thereafter. The MAC expanded to 13 by adding Temple when it was kicked from the Big East, but that's presented scheduling issues. The existing test cases for football conferences larger than 12 members are not promising.
Let's also remember that no one has even pulled off the 12-member conference as well as the SEC has. The Big 12 is plagued by the fact that the South division has dominated the North for much of the decade, and the ACC can't even give tickets away to its championship game. The SEC meanwhile has two balanced divisions, the perfect championship game locale, and the majority of its traditional games intact. No one else can boast that, and expanding beyond its current state disrupts it.
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