(Last update: 6:30 p.m.)
Turns out, Baylor may not be alone in stepping on Texas A&M’s — and the SEC’s — dreams.
The Waco Tribune is reporting that six Big 12 teams, all of whom originally OK’d Texas A&M leaving the conference, are now refusing to sign the waiver.
Sorry. I personally find this hysterical.
The lynchpin here is Oklahoma. Reportedly, all of the schools will allow A&M to leave if Oklahoma agrees to stay in the Big 12 and not bolt for the Pacific “12.” The schools that won’t sign the waiver are Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Missouri.
And the saga continues . . .
At least one school apparently isn’t playing nice in the SEC’s attempt to conquer the world — one major college football program at a time. Aw, shucks. (Sarcasm.)
SEC member presidents voted unanimously Tuesday night to accept Texas A&M, as had been expected for weeks. But Florida president Bernie Machen released a statement this morning that one Big 12 member school apparently is now threatening litigation should the deal go thr0ugh.
So the SEC is giving only conditional approval. In short, they don’t want to get sued.
Also, they don’t want to look bad, but it’s too late for that.
SI.com is reporting that Baylor is the Big 12 school threatening litigation. If that’s true, Baylor has become one of my favorites academic institutions in the country. The cannibalism going on in college athletics is pathetic.
Here’s the statement from Machen, who chairs the SEC’s presidents and chancellors:
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 We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action.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.
Here’s a copy of the Big 12’s original letter to the SEC:
September 2, 2011
2201 Richard Arrington Boulevard North
Birmingham, AL 35203
This is to confirm our discussion yesterday during which I informed you that the Big 12
Conference Board of Directors unanimously authorized me to convey to you and their colleagues in the Southeastern Conference that the Big 12 and its members will not take any legal action for any possible claims against the SEC or its members relating to the departure of Texas A&M University from the Big 12 and the admission of Texas A&M into the SEC; provided, however, that such act by the SEC to admit Texas A&M is publicly confirmed by 5:00 p.m. (CDT) on September 8, 2011.
Such admission of Texas A&M will result in the withdrawal of Texas A&M from the Big 12 Conference effective June 30, 2012. We both agreed it is in the best interests of each of our conferences and our member institutions of higher education to waive any and all legal actions by either conference and its members resulting from admission of Texas A&M into the SEC, as long as such admission is confirmed publicly by September 8, 2011.
If any of your presidents and chancellors have concerns about this commitment of the Big 12 Conference, they may contact me or Brady Deaton, Big 12 Board of Director chairman and chancellor of the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Most of you know how I feel about this conference raiding. It contradicts the NCAA’s stated mission of college athletics, particularly at a time when school presidents claim they’re focused on academics and cleaning up college sports. In fact, it has been about money for a long time. Sadly that’s probably not going to change.
If you missed the column I wrote on this subject a couple of weeks ago, here’s the link.
By Jeff Schultz