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Wednesday, September 7, 2011
A&M president: 'We are being held hostage'

By David Ubben

In a letter from Sept. 2 made public Wednesday, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said the Big 12 "and its members" were waiving legal action toward Texas A&M and the SEC.

The SEC accepted Texas A&M in a vote on Tuesday night on the condition that the Big 12 schools waived legal action toward Texas A&M and the SEC, but Beebe later said in a statement that his letter "did not and could not bind the individual member institutions’ governing boards to waive institutional rights."

In a Sept. 6 email to Slive, obtained by The Associated Press, Beebe writes: "If you seek waivers by the individual institutions, you must receive them from those institutions directly. I regret any confusion on this issue."

Which led to Wednesday's drama, in which Baylor, Iowa State and Kansas refused to waive legal rights. Reports surfaced that other schools would do the same, but have been unconfirmed.

"I felt that was really a violation of trust right there," A&M president R. Bowen Loftin told the AP in an interview. "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."

For now, A&M's move to the SEC appears imminent, but the legal action has held it up. The Aggies, as one might guess, are not pleased.

"We are being held hostage right now," Loftin said of being forced to stay in the Big 12. "Essentially, we're being told that you must stay here against your will and we think that really flies in the face of what makes us Americans for example and makes us free people."