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“"While events may continue to evolve in the coming weeks, at this time, there is no immediate need to evaluate the merits of an athletic conference reconfiguration involving Texas A&M University and, potentially, other Texas public universities," Branch said in a statement released Monday afternoon. "If the current situation changes, our committee is prepared to convene." The committee controls funding to the state's public institutions. The same congressional panel met last year when the future of the Big 12 was in question, following the departure of Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12) in July. The Big 12 did not respond to requests for comment Monday, though Commissioner Dan Beebe told USA Today on Sunday that the Big 12 was interested in maintaining 10 member schools. "We're just working hard to try to figure out how they can stay with us because of the value that institution has and the quality academic and athletic programs it offers," Beebe told the newspaper. "We'll see. We've seen the odds stacked against us before." Loftin said he began discussing Texas A&M's interest in the SEC with Commissioner Mike Slive on July 21. A&M's departure would cast doubt on the future of the Big 12, and Loftin said he would consider the ramifications for the conference before doing anything. "What we do, if anything, will be in the best interest of Texas A&M and the state of Texas," he said. "We're also very concerned about the members of the Big 12. We don't want the Big 12 to go away. We have no intention of doing anything that might precipitate that." Another key for Texas A&M in negotiating with another conference would be continuing its more than 100-year-old football rivalry with Texas. "That's a historic rivalry," he said. "We see no reason why it could not continue under a different conference arrangement if they chose to do so. We certainly want to make that part of any discussion we have with another conference." Loftin said he would have to consider the financial consequences to leaving the Big 12, if Texas A&M wants to go somewhere else. The Big 12, including Texas A&M, agreed to a 13-year television deal with Fox Sports in April that is worth more than $1 billion. If the Aggies leave the conference, there is a chance the contract could be voided, which could lead to legal issues for Texas A&M and its new league. Texas A&M also could be subject to buyout or exit fees if it bolts. "I've read the bylaws of the Big 12 and they're confusing to some extent," Loftin said when asked about what costs could be associated with leaving. "So I think there's a lot of room to talk about what that might mean if we choose to explore that option. We have not yet begun that process yet. This is one of the steps we have to take. The issue is looking at the Iong-term and any short-term costs must be weighed against long-term costs and benefits." Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.
It's not so much what's wrong with the Big 12, it's what's right for Texas A&M and where we want to go in time.” -- Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin on realignment plans