Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Beebe: Aggies wanting SEC aren't majority
By David Ubben
With Colorado and Nebraska out of the Big 12, Texas A&M has taken center stage this summer as the program and fan base that is most discontent with the current situation in the Big 12.
On Monday, Texas A&M officials told me that 60 percent of the Aggies fan base would support a move to the SEC, up from an estimated 30-40 percent last summer when the Aggies had a reported invitation to the conference boasting college football's past five national titles.
Tuesday, though, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe disagreed with that sentiment.
"I don’t know where he’s getting that from, that’s not the sense that I have from those folks," Beebe said when I informed him of the Aggie observation, one I sensed myself and agreed with.
Beebe reminded the few reporters in attendance that the issue of Texas A&M leaving for the SEC has come up time and time again, but the decision has always been the same.
"That issue has been around that institution for a long time, but thankfully, the coaches, the administrators and others are adamant about wanting to be in the Big 12," Beebe said. "[Texas A&M athletic director] Bill Byrne expressed that yesterday."
Beebe warned several times on Tuesday of programs that left a conference for various reasons but left their natural, historical and geographic rivals behind. In the process, he noted that Colorado, which has 50,000 more alumni in the Pac-12 footprint than in the Big 12 footprint, went to a league that better suited its "orientation."
I asked Beebe for a prediction of what the A&M program would look like in 10 years if it had chosen to leave for the SEC at the same time Nebraska and Colorado left the Big 12.
"They would be saying that 80 percent of our people would want to stay in the Big 12," Beebe said. "We made a bad decision."