The divorce has begun: Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin has been granted the authority to discuss conference affiliation by the Texas A&M Board of Regents. Point 15 on the docket for the meeting today was greeted with an unanimous vote to approve by the board, and with it likely sent the world of college football into a protracted bout of conference-swapping chaos.
"Protracted" is an important word here. In a press conference following the vote, Hardin insisted there were no specifics on a destination conference or even a timetable for when a move from the Big 12 would occur. In his own words:
It's not what wrong with the B12 as much as what's right for TAMU."
What might be right for the Aggies would be a move to the SEC, but the caution and vague statements by the decision-makers all around makes sense. Texas A&M leaving the conference has its risks for the Aggies and the SEC. The Aggies want to avoid any and all lawsuits, and Loftin himself said he had not begun to parse the Big 12's buyout clauses to see how to make the least expensive and/or litigious exist from the conference. The SEC wants to avoid the appearance of being too hasty in adding a new member as well as avoiding any semblance of tampering with the Big 12.
However this happens, it will happen slowly, and with one other condition: the Aggies will still play Texas on Thanksgiving.