Developments For Texas A&M
Developments For Texas A&M
The SEC will have to drop its demand for all nine remaining Big 12 members to waive their rights to sue Texas A&M and the SEC if it wants to admit the Aggies for membership immediately — a step Baylor isn’t ready to take, a source said Thursday.
If the SEC sticks to its demand, it won’t get at least one member — Baylor — to buckle until it knows what Oklahoma plans to do, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, has no timetable for reaching a decision on whether to stay in the Big 12 or pursue a move to the Pac-12, according to a source with knowledge of Oklahoma’s decision-making process. Last Friday, university president David Boren said the school would evaluate all of its options.
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Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione isn’t against becoming part of a 16-team conference if that’s what Boren decides, although it’s not seen as ideal, the source said. The source said Oklahoma would not be divided in the process.
An Oklahoma decision to remain a part of the Big 12 would offer Baylor more long-term security.
A source with knowledge of Baylor’s situation said the Bears’ first choice is to stay together with the remaining nine Big 12 schools and pursue a 10th for expansion.
Meanwhile, Texas and Texas Tech waived their legal right to sue the SEC and Texas A&M over the Aggies’ pending departure, per the SEC’s request. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have waived their rights as well.
An Oklahoma State official said the school “has no intention of suing the SEC or A&M.”
“Speculative reports using unnamed sources implying Oklahoma State University would join others in a lawsuit against the SEC and Texas A&M were incorrect,” said director of communications Gary Shutt.
On the other side, Kansas associate athletic director Jim Marchiony told ESPN.com that Kansas hasn’t waived its rights to sue. Iowa State has not waived it’s rights either.
“We are not aware of any SEC demand directed at Iowa State University,” Iowa State spokesman John McCarroll said.
Both Kansas State spokesman Kenny Lannou and a Missouri officials declined comment Thursday on whether the schools will retain their legal right to sue.
“If the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, several institutions may be severely affected after counting on revenue streams from contracts that were approved unanimously by our members, including Texas A&M,” Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said in a statement Thursday. “In some cases, members reasonably relied on such approval to embark on obligations that will cost millions of dollars.”
But Baylor, like Missouri, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State, isn’t sitting idle. Neither is the Big East, which has reached out to the Big 12 schools that could be left behind if the conference were to lose two members (Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) or four (the Oklahoma schools, Texas and Texas Tech), the source said.
The Big East would be willing to expand to 12 football-playing members and 20 for men’s and women’s basketball in order to stave off a potential raid from the SEC (West Virginia), the ACC (Syracuse and Connecticut) or even the Big Ten (Pitt or Rutgers), according to sources.
Kansas and Kansas State could also be alternatives for the Pac-12 if it were to decide to expand to 16 without the two Texas schools. At least two Pac-12 sources told ESPN.com that they weren’t in favor of expanding beyond the current 12 members unless Texas were involved.
Member presidents of the SEC unanimously voted Tuesday night to accept Texas A&M. Last Friday the SEC received written assurance from the Big 12 it was free to accept A&M as a member, Florida university president and SEC chairman Dr. Bernie Machen said.
“We were notified (Tuesday) afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action,” Machen said in a statement Wednesday. “The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure.”
A source close to Texas A&M characterized Baylor as “the ringleader” in the attempt to keep A&M in the Big 12, ESPN’s Joe Schad reported.
“We are being held hostage right now,” A&M president R. Bowen 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.”
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
Follow Andy Katz on Twitter: @ESPNAndyKatz
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