Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Deadline coming for A&M-SEC decision?
By David Ubben
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe says a deadline could be coming for Texas A&M to make a decision regarding its future conference affiliation.
“I think the members deserve to know what Texas A&M’s intentions are going forward regarding the conference,” Beebe told Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News.
Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin remained noncommittal while addressing reporters on Monday, and maintained that the university had not made a decision regarding a move to the SEC.
Reports over the past week, however, have indicated that Texas A&M intends to leave the Big 12 for the SEC.
"I would suggest that would be an untenable position," Beebe said of the possibility of the Aggies' flirtation with the SEC being drawn out. "We can’t operate with an institution waiting to decide if it wants to remain in the conference. There has to be a very short time for an institution to commit."
The remaining Big 12 programs made a 10-year pledge last summer, but signed no written agreement. Beebe suggested that a stronger, contractual pledge may be pursued.
Last summer, when Texas committed to the Big 12, I asked president Bill Powers and AD DeLoss Dodds if they had decided to sign anything with the Big 12 binding the league together. They didn't.
I thought it was a glaring mistake on the part of all involved, and the league is paying for it now. A TV contract signed over the summer with Fox Sports could complicate matters, but legal entanglements won't change Texas A&M's displeasure with the league, which may not have reached this point if Aggies' decision-makers knew the SEC was not an option.
The Big 12 also spent $1 million on a re-branding campaign that it debuted at Big 12 Media Days last month.
Because of the recent instability within the league, Beebe says it has been rendered unusable.
"Ultimately, our strong main desire is to keep A&M and address whatever need to be done to keep them as happy, fulfilled members of the conference," Beebe told the paper.
We'll see if that ever occurs, but Beebe seems to have made it clear he'd like the Aggies in or out sooner than later.