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Posts Tagged ‘Big XII’

Should Texas Change from Burnt Orange to Yellow?

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 14, 2011

Great column today from Clay Travis at OutKicktheCoverage.com (a ridiculous name because outkicking the coverage is a bad thing) regarding the timid, scared Texas Longhorns.  Travis writes about Texas and their new flirtation with the ACC, noting that the most sensible location for UT long-term is the SEC.  Yet, the Shortwhorns apparently have no interest in competing with the big boys.

The reason is simple, the Texas Longhorn administration, would-be bullies, are scared to play in the nation’s best football conference. As the Longhorns latest soap opera destination appears to be the ACC — Chip Brown at Orangebloods.com had this story first — this means that the Longhorns have four potential destinations right now: remain in the Big 12 with new teams added, leave with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State for the Pac 12, join the ACC, or go independent.

Adding Texas would be a coup for the SEC, but as Travis notes the arrogant, elite Texas boosters could not stomach being treated equally.  Sure, Bama still has a lot of sway at the SEC office.  But financially the Tide gets the same cut as Vanderbilt.  Texas could never stand for that.

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Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Baylor Kicking and Screaming

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 7, 2011

SI.com

News outlets from coast-to-coast report this morning that Texas A&M plans to announce its move to the SEC later today.  We had that last night, but we are now retracting that report.  Word leaked late last night but we could not confirm until this morning:  Baylor has threatened legal action if Texas A&M leaves the Big XII.

The SEC met last night with plans to accept the Aggies into the league, but that vote was postponed when the league received word that one of the Big XII member institutions rescinded its vote to allow Texas A&M to leave.  We have learned today that Baylor is that school.

From CBSSports.com:

“After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC,” Machen said. “We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action.

“The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure.  The SEC voted unanimously to accept Texas A&M University as a member upon receiving acceptable reconfirmation that the Big 12 and its members have reaffirmed the letter dated September 2, 2011.”

Yet again, we face more delays in this ridiculous drama.  One of these days it will be done, but right now Baylor needs to throw its temper tantrum.  I feel the need to point out that Baylor’s university president is Kenneth Starr.  Yep…THAT Kenneth Starr.  So much for free markets…

UPDATE I (8:57am) – Our best source in Aggieland confirms what we thought: This is a money grab from Baylor.  If Baylor keeps this up, Shiloh Christian may change its colors to green and gold.  The schools already have a lot in common.

UPDATE II (9:22am) – Very good source that just told me Texas A&M has received a letter (ransom note?) in the last 20 minutes that says Baylor will not prevent the move.  Evidently Baylor administrators (notably Ken Starr) and business leaders in Waco have been told in no certain terms that they need to get in line.

This is solid.  It has happened.  Texas A&M will make an official announcement today assuming the lawyers sign off on everything.  A press conference had been planned already, so it seems likely that the school will continue with its previous press event.

UPDATE III (2:14pm) – The fur is flying in Texas today.  Apparently our source earlier was correct to a degree, but the ransom note sent by Baylor to Texas A&M has a ton of conditions.  The Aggies apparently cannot drop off a bag full of money in a parking lot at the Waco Walmart.  A conference call today among Big XII leaders did little to assure the Aggies that all will be well.  I’m growing more and more confident that this ends up in front of a judge somewhere.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

Farmers Flight

Posted by Brett Kincaid on September 6, 2011

Hey SEC, can we play?

There goes the neighborhood…

It looks like the Aggies to the SEC saga is entering its final week.  Exactly four weeks ago we told you that Texas A&M would head to the SEC, abandoning a failing Big XII and its long standing traditions with Texas.  (Sub in “Arkansas” for Texas A&M and “SWC” for Big XII, and this story could have been written more than 20 years ago.)  According to Andy Staples at Sports Illustrated, one of college football’s messiest divorces of all time could be finalized in the next 24 hours.

Reports today tell us that the SEC presidents are scheduled to meet tonight to vote on adding a new member.  Nine of the 12 SEC university presidents must vote to approve a new member, and it is widely believed that will happen.  Of course, Texas A&M appears to be that new member.

Staples takes time to explore the looming changes this move will almost certainly set in motion.  Are 16-team conferences on the horizon?

Let’s hop in the time machine and travel back to July 2010. In an interview with SI.com, the Pac-12’s Scott explained that he believed superconferences would eventually form. “Something like that is bound to happen at some stage,” Scott said 14 months ago. Why? Because when he floated the idea in 2010, Scott found that television executives loved it. “What you couldn’t predict is what fan reaction would be, what media reaction would be and how the TV executives who would ultimately have to stroke some big checks would react,” Scott said. “That was the part that was very pleasing. I got contacted by every major TV network in the country.”

Lots of eyeballs on Atlanta today, where the meeting of the SEC presidents has been scheduled.  We’ll let you know what we hear.

UPDATE I (3:51pm) – One source in Aggieland tells us that a press conference has already been scheduled for tomorrow in College Station, presumably to announce that Texas A&M will join the SEC as the league’s 13th member.

UPDATE II (9:35pm) – Word is filtering out tonight that the Aggies have received the requisite votes needed to become the SEC’s 13th member.  David Sandhop over at Aggie Websider has some details.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Texas A&M Officially Announces Its Intention to Leave Big 12

Posted by Adam Butler on August 31, 2011

Buh-Bye.

We have been all over this, (no, REALLY) and now, after the requisite behind-the-scenes mechanations, the Aggies are leaving for the greener pastures of the SEC, effective June 30, 2012.

The last part hasn’t been announced, yet, because Texas A&M and the SEC want to retain some (not so) plausible deniability. But,as we have maintained throughout, there is no way TAMU makes this move without a wink and a nod from the SEC.

Posted in Commentary, Sports | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Texas A&M Officially Announces Its Intention to Leave Big 12

The War of Aggie SECession

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 25, 2011

The first official shot has been fired.  We have word breaking at this hour that Texas A&M has officially filed paperwork with the Big XII that the school intends to leave the conference.  This is a necessary first step for the Aggies to be considered for membership into the Southeastern Conference.

I will have more later, but it appears that the process has indeed started.

UPDATE I (1:51 PM):  From Chuck Carlton at the Dallas Morning News via his Twitter feed:

A&M president Loftin: “… we are working very deliberately to act in the best long-term interests of both Texas A&M and the State of Texas”

Loftin calls it a “100-year decision” repeating a phrase he used a week ago following a board of regents meeting.

UPDATE II (2:44 PM):  From ESPN.com

Texas A&M has officially notified the Big 12 that it will explore its options pertaining to conference affiliation, the university announced on Thursday.

Texas A&M says if it chooses to withdraw from the Big 12, it will do so in accordance with Big 12 bylaws, and would be supportive of the Big 12’s efforts to secure a new member in the conference.

The SEC openly pursuing Texas A&M as a member of the Big 12 could open the conference up to litigation under tortious interference, or interference with a written contract.

UPDATE III (4:01 PM):  The cat is out of the bag and now climbing the tree.  Widespread accounts of Texas A&M University’s departure from the Big XII and impending relationship with the SEC have surfaced all across main stream media.  Virtually every sports news site has this story now.

I’d like to take this time for a little self congratulation.  BlogHawgs.com first brought you this story more than two weeks ago.  Only David Sandhop at Aggie Websider consistently trumped our timing.  Thanks to trusted sources and a little elbow grease, we consistently stayed ahead of the out-of-state curve on this story.  While we have a policy to never reveal our sources, we’d be remiss if we did not acknowledge them and say Thank You.  You know who you are.

From August 9, 2011:

Multiple sources in Texas tell me today that a deal to allow Texas A&M to join the SEC has been agreed to in principle.  An additional source – unconfirmed at the moment but typically reliable – tells me all 12 conference members have voted unanimously to accept A&M into the league.  Speculation out of Texas has the Aggies playing football in the SEC during the 2012 season, not in 2013 or 2014 as I first heard.

I final note of thanks to David Sandhop, who doesn’t even know how much we relied on his Twitter feed to confirm our sources.  He runs an Aggie fan page and provides a great service to his readers.  There is a premium feature to his site, but David provides a ton of information for free.  Hats off to him.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Aggies to SECede, Part Deux

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 22, 2011

Remember us?

The dust appears to have settled enough – and more importantly the lawyers appear to be on the same page – for Texas A&M officially to depart the Big XII and ultimately land in the SEC.  We have independent reports claiming the deal should be done no later than one week from today, possibly before then.

While we do not know the exact way this has broken down, we feel pretty confident that the school and SEC officials believe the deal can be done quickly.  No word yet on when the Aggies would officially start play, but one source says the Aggies plan to inform the Big XII that they will no longer participate in Big XII athletics at the end of the newly started academic calendar.  This means the Aggies would either play as an Independent next football season or – more likely – play in a new conference.

Remember, we learned earlier this month that any school must officially end or state its intention to end conference affiliation prior to being considered for membership in the SEC.  If the calendar matches what we have been told, that process could be over and done within five days.

Look for Texas A&M to officially serve notice this week to the Big XII. Once that has been sent and officially received by conference administrators, Texas A&M can begin to seek a new home.  They are expected to apply for membership into the SEC by Wednesday of this week, putting the burden back on the SEC member presidents to approve or deny that invitation.

We have reason to believe that the conference presidents will approve the Texas A&M application this time, given that the Aggies have officially informed the Big XII that they will leave the conference.  There is a chance – albeit slim – that this all gets done by the end of this week.  So the process could take us into next week, but our sources do not believe the football season will begin before the deal is done.

As for the  SEC, it is our understanding that the league will not require a 14th institution to be added immediately.  The league will operate as a 13-member conference but will also actively discuss potential schools to create an even number.  I do expect the league to come to some sort of agreement with a 14th team prior to next season.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

The Petulant Texans

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 15, 2011

The Texas House of Representatives Higher Education Committee has thrust itself into the middle of the Aggie Two Step to the SEC.  It is hardly breaking news for a politician to grandstand, so I don’t know how many folks are actually surprised by it.  Given his change of heart Monday afternoon, though, my radar went up concerning Rep. Dan Branch.  He cancelled a public hearing – one that would no doubt generate tons of media attention – once it became obvious that Texas A&M would not be heading to the SEC today.

Have you ever heard of a politician turning down an open press event?

Me either, and I spent the better part of 10 years working in politics.

Rep. Branch’s curious decision led me to consider what could possibly have changed his mind.

I am an optimist, so my first thought was this:  Perhaps Rep. Branch rattled his saber loudly and became satisfied that the point was made.  Regardless of what the Aggies ultimately decide, Rep. Branch can rest assured that he called attention to a matter that could have a negative impact on several Texas institutions of higher learning.  I mean…that is possible.

But it seems quite unlikely.  So I started thinking of other considerations.

I wonder how many times Rep. Branch’s phone rang in the past week.  More importantly I wonder who may have been placing those calls.  Maybe they were large Aggie donors in his district.  Maybe it was a sitting governor that happens to be a former Texas A&M student…with a very good memory and history for punishing his enemies.  Could it be that the fine folks of his Dallas district called and asked Rep. Branch what exactly he was doing?  After all, the Metroplex Republican is a free-market conservative that has little use for government meddling.  And he heaped praise on UT when they launched the Longhorn Network, citing their creativity for finding new revenue.

Any number of those things could have happened.  My guess is that some of them did.  But Rep. Branch has poked a bear.  No one required the legislative committee that he chairs to intercede.  Or…was their an external force at play?

I was tipped today to a blog post over at Midnight Yell, a blog similar to this one but devoted to all things Aggie.  This is the same site that got its hands on The Longhorn Network contract terms between Texas and ESPN.  These folks know how to get it done with research.

Remember the PR firm we referenced last week that had reportedly been engaged by UT in hopes of protecting its image as it became clear the wHorns would be seen as an “evil doer” in the breakup of the Big XII?  That firm is called HillCo Partners.  Its founder is a gentleman named Neal “Buddy” Jones, who is a proud alumnus of Baylor University.  That’s right…BAYLOR.

Midnight Yell does some great reporting on this.  If you’re intrigued by the story, you should definitely check out their work.  A few things from their report really jump off the page at me.  The most notable factoid I saw was that Mr. Jones, founding partner at HillCo, has also served time as a member of the Baylor University Board of Regents.  The Dallas Morning News notes that Mr. Jones played a very large role in keeping the Big XII together last year – by forcing Baylor down the throats of anyone that would listen.

Here is part of an email the DMN obtained:

From: Buddy Jones
Date: June 4, 2010 10:49:12 AM CDT
To: ADDRESSES REDACTED
Subject: Baylor Alert
To: Baylor grads in the 81st Legislature:
I have a critical issue that directly affects Baylor and it is very time sensitive. The Big XII and PAC 10 are both meeting separately today. According to a recent newspaper report, the PAC 10 may well issue an invite to all the Big XII South schools to join the PAC 10 – WITH THE EXCEPTION OF BAYLOR. In our stead, the PAC 10 is rumored to substitute Colorado. In this scenario, Baylor gets left out and this would be a major, major setback for our University. Perhaps a setback of immense proportion. The mere rumor of Baylor being left behind is harmful.
We cannot let the other schools in Texas (A&M, U.T., Tech) leave the Big XII WITHOUT BAYLOR BEING INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE. Long and short – if U.T., A&M and Tech demand that any move to any other conference include ALL TEXAS BASED TEAMS from the Big XII, we are golden. We need to be in a PACKAGE DEAL!

If you’re like me, your first thought is….BAYLOR?!  It seems like the baptist bears have a big fear of being rendered irrelevant.  (You’d think their play on the field had already done that.  HEY-O!)

The “smoking gun” link in this chain is – as always – the money.  It turns out HillCo Partners is quite active with political contributions.  That is far from unusual.  The best political consulting firms also give quite generously.  There is something to note, though, about where significant HillCo contributions have been routed.  I’ll let Midnight Yell deliver the punch line:

It is also interesting and of note to point out that 8 of 9 members on the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Higher Education have received campaign contributions from HillCo Partners in the past:

None of those members attended Texas A&M University.  Four of the nine received at least one degree from either the University of Texas at Austin or Baylor University.

Posted in Commentary, Sports | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on The Petulant Texans

Hearing Delayed

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 15, 2011

Tuesday’s scheduled hearing of the Texas House of Representatives Higher Education Committee has been postponed.  Evidently this hearing only needed to happen in the event Texas A&M’s Board of Regents had officially voted to move to the SEC today.  That’s the impression I certainly get, especially in light of Texas Rep. Dan Branch’s comments.

“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.”

I think it’s fair to say that Mr. Branch’s committee hearing has but one purpose:  Shame Texas A&M into staying in the Big 12 by showing how that move may undermine the viability of other state schools.  Interestingly, no hearing of this magnitude was scheduled with the University of Texas created its own television sports network.  In fact, Rep. Branch lauded that move:

“I do not think this Legislature ought to penalize people that are going on and being successful in maximizing their assets and getting a higher return and finding revenues that are not a tax base.”

“I certainly will do everything I can to make sure that people who take care of their institutions and raise them up and bring in more revenues and create value that somehow that wouldn’t be a detriment as they go through the appropriations process.”

More on this tonight

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Aggies at the Altar

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 15, 2011

Yesterday did not work out like many of us thought it would.  In retrospect, I think many of us ignored some aspects of reality regarding the Aggies-to-the-SEC move.  At BlogHawgs.com, we ignored our own advice from earlier in the week.  Most notably this:

UPDATE VI:  Looks like everyone needs to simmer down and settle in for the long haul.  I’ve been led to believe this is indeed happening.  It’s a major move by both sides, so the terms of the deal will be thoroughly reviewed.  There does appear to be some validity to the notion that both aTm and the SEC are negotiating when the Aggies would start play in football.

While the Aggies may be waiting at the altar, I definitely believe it will be worth the wait.

One thing that is certain:  We had this well before the main stream media picked up on it, and we were far more right than wrong.  All of our sources proved trustworthy – if a bit too optimistic.  I still trust them completely since their information has proven to be very accurate.

Back to the story…

Here is what we know:

  • Texas A&M reached out to SEC officials more than three weeks ago after making an institutional decision that the Longhorn Network and the current state of the Big 12 no longer benefited the Aggies.
  • The SEC and its members understand the benefit of adding the Aggies and the television & recruiting markets opened thanks to including an elite Texas school to the conference’s footprint.
  • Conversations will continue between SEC league members and Texas A&M.  Additionally, a 14th SEC member (at minimum) will likely be identified BEFORE an official invitation is extended to the Aggies.
Here is what we believe:
  • Texas A&M will eventually be added to the Southeastern Conference.
  • This process will take several months before the conference officially expands.
  • The 14th school that will join at the same time as Texas A&M will NOT come from a state where a current SEC school resides.  (I’ve had my eye on Va Tech this whole time, and I still identify them as the #1 target.  More on that in a different column…)
  • Any school that joins the SEC will have already announced its separation from its current conference before receiving an invitation.

Taking a step back, it’s easy to understand why this transition must take a long time.  The amount of legal concerns that must be addressed are multitude.  Given the huge amount of money involved, conference affiliation – and change – more closely resembles a Wall Street arbitrage transaction than conference realignment in the Arkansas Activities Association.  Of course, even the AAA faces legal threats now during realignment every two years.

This is a multi-million dollar transaction.  The Big 12 stands to lose significant revenue.  At least one report mentioned that the league’s ESPN deal can be voided if the league dips below 10 members.  And as we noted last week (hard to believe it’s only been one week since this posted) the Longhorn Network prods Texas to violate the Big 12 charter by showing more league games than previously agreed to by the league.

Essentially, this is a big ol’ mess.  And the Texas state legislature hasn’t even gotten involved yet.  That comes tomorrow.  Things fall into a slow trot when lawyers get involved.  That speed will look like Usain Bolt in the 100m compared to the ability politicians have at slowing down a process.

It’s going to be a long slog.  At several times throughout the process we will all doubt whether or not it will actually happen.  I firmly believe, though, that the Texas A&M Aggies will be members of the Southeastern Conference.  They may not be playing football in the SEC in 2012, though, which appears to be the primary motivation had to speed the process along.  I think most agree that waiting one additional year in order to avoid costly and time consuming litigation makes a ton of sense.

Of course…we could all be wrong, too.  Nothing is done until it’s done.  All signs, though, still point to the union of Texas A&M and the SEC.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

End Game

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 13, 2011

The week-long drama over Texas A&M to the SEC appears to be entering its final stages.  As we first reported on Tuesday, Aggie officials have been negotiating with the SEC office regarding a potential offer to join the league.  It appears the SEC member schools will meet tomorrow (via conference call) to officially vote to expand the 12-member conference with the addition of the Aggies.  TAMU’s Board of Regents moved up a meeting previously scheduled for next Monday, August 22, to this Monday.  The agenda for this meeting includes an item to discuss the school’s athletic conference affiliation.

It appears that the Monday meeting was moved in advance of a Texas state legislative meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, where state politicians would grouse about the Aggies move.  With the state legislature out of session, it appears that there is little to be done by that body.  Tuesday’s meeting appears to be nothing more than a political event, something we detailed yesterday on this site.

What remains to be seen is whether or not Sunday’s SEC call will also include other potential new members to the conference.  An ESPN.com report today indicated that the league could vote to extend invitations to Missouri, Florida State, and Clemson.  Administration officials at all of those schools deny this, but there is reason to believe that other schools have been contacted.  We linked Friday to a story out of Florida that indicated FSU and the SEC had long been in talks about a move.

At minimum, it appears that the SEC will soon be a 13-member league.  No one expects that to be the case for long, though.  With the Pac-12 and Big 10 recently adding members, it was only a matter of time before the esteemed Southeastern Conference would make its power play.  Adding Texas A&M certainly qualifies as a power move.  Poaching 2 ACC members and another from the Big 12 would certainly serve notice that Mike Slive and his team in Birmingham intend to keep the SEC at the top of the collegiate athletic food chain.

ALSO OF NOTE…

The Former Student Association (Aggie alumni organization) posted this to its website.  It appears they are preparing for potential wrangling in the state legislature.  This quote is particularly telling:

The decision on Texas A&M’s conference alignment – or any decision impacting our University’s future – is one that should be made by our University leaders.  If Aggies, too, will engage their elected officials and ask them to consider Texas A&M’s need to do what is right and best for our school and our future, our President and other University leaders can focus solely on the best interests of Texas A&M today and tomorrow.

Also, it turns out that Aggie AD Bill Byrne is on Twitter.  Mr. Byrne sent this message at 2:00PM CDT today:

Bill Byrne
@SEC_Chatter gig ’em’

I think it’s safe to say right now that the bulk of discussion in the coming 72 hours will focus on a potential 14th member to the SEC.  It looks like #13 will come wearing maroon and white.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Aggie Update

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 11, 2011

More news on the A&M Board of Regents meeting on August 22nd:

Evidently there will be an agenda item regarding the school’s future conference affiliation. A vote IS expected on moving to the SEC.
If things continue to unfold as they have, the Board will approve a move to the SEC with announcement publicly coming shortly thereafter.

Also, we have sources in Florida that suggest FSU could be the next school to join the league. While nothing firm has developed on that front yet, word is that FSU administration officials have indicated privately that the school would accept the invitation if it was extended by the SEC.

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Aggie Update

Statesman: Arkansas on List to Replace A&M

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 11, 2011

The Big XII apparently believes the Aggies are likely to bolt for the SEC.  Late yesterday the Austin American Statesman reported just how seriously the conference takes these latest rumors.  In the Statesman article they cite a Big XII member official talking about potential replacements for the Aggies should they leave.

The Big 12 school official told the Statesman he had heard that the Big 12, to survive in the event of A&M’s departure, would consider inviting Notre Dame and Arkansas to join, but he admitted those schools were unlikely to be interested.

Saying Arkansas would be “unlikely” to have interest gives this line of thought too much credibility.  Let’s be clear:  Arkansas would have ZERO interest to move to the Big XII – especially if A&M has moved to the SEC.  My hunch is this “Big 12 school official” has a 512 area code and likes an odd shade of orange.

And Notre Dame?  Really?

The key takeaway from this story, though, is that the conversation appears to be shifting.  More and more I hear it’s a matter of “when” and not “if” the Aggies move to the SEC.  The university has a Board of Regents meeting scheduled for August 22, which also happens to be the week athletic director Bill Byrne returns from Europe after travelling with the Aggie basketball team this summer.

Also of note…  The Longhorn Network is set to launch later that week on August 26.  You think the Aggies would like to give the Horns a big ol’ Texas-sized middle finger the week LHN hits the air?  Yeah…me, too.

UPDATE I (8:44 AM, 8/11):  Unconfirmed reports this morning that Texas Tech has escalated talks with Pac-12.  If anyone has tips/information, please email to bloghawgs@gmail.com.

UPDATED II (8:52 AM, 8/11):  MrSEC.com has a full rundown (finally) of the events of the week.  Lots of links to various stories on the Aggies-to-SEC topic.

 

Posted in Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Aggageddon

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 10, 2011

It’s been quiet on the surface of the Aggies plan to SECede, but trust me when I say that it’s been just as busy on background today as yesterday.  While we are not ready to say 100% that the deal is done, we are getting close.  I believe an official announcement could be made within two weeks, but at this rate it’s easy to expect unofficial word to start leaking like a sieve.  According to some sources it already has.

Rampant speculation in and around Aggieland has prominent boosters being told by administration officials that the deal is done.  The sticking point remains which academic year the school will begin play, no later than 2013 but potentially next year.  It is our understanding that both parties would like to start next year but may be handcuffed by other contractual obligations.

David Sandhop, an Aggie fansite administrator, Tweeted another critical piece of information today.

RT @sportsdaydfw: Breaking: Texas governor Rick Perry on Texas A&M to SEC rumors: ‘Conversations are being had’

Here is a link to the article featuring Gov. Perry.

And late word this evening tells me sports talk radio all over Texas has blown up in reaction to Gov. Perry’s quote in the paper.  If this falls apart, he may have a hard time winning the state in his bid for the White House.  He is a former cheerleader Yell Leader, afterall.

On a completely different front today, BlogHawgs.com picked up on rumors today that people in Oklahoma are on the hunt for a new deal.  The Pac-12 remains an inviting option for Oklahoma (or is it the other way around?), while the online speculation about the Big 10 is not completely without merit.  If these whispers are indeed true, that could provide great context to this Tweet from Mr. Sandhop last night:

A move to the SEC could come sooner than later as talk of Tech/OU/OSU to the Pac-12 heats up

It’s easy to get caught up in the moving parts, but I think it’s important to go back to the root cause of all this shifting.  The University of Texas should change its school colors to green and white rather than burnt orange.  In their haste to cash in on an admittedly lucrative deal with ESPN, the Longhorns neglected to look at the collateral damage of such a deal.  As Adam pointed out earlier today, life as an Independent is a difficult one.  Notre Dame has the benefit of always being one.  Now Texas has to deal with the ramifications of alienating their former conference rivals.

You see, sports is not pure capitalism.  The SEC learned that and has prospered.  By making sure everyone can compete and profit, the entire league benefits. There is no better application of the Nash equilibrium than athletics.

Texas wants all the money for itself.  And it appears they’ll get it.  But they’ll be all alone.

UPDATE (9:28 PM, 8/10):  This story is starting to fly, thanks largely to Gov. Perry’s comment.

College Football Talk

Sporting News

The Mother Ship

CBS Sports

UPDATE (8:44 AM, 8/11):  Unconfirmed reports this morning that Texas Tech has escalated talks with Pac-12.  If anyone has tips/information, please email to bloghawgs@gmail.com.

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Reveille Revolution

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 9, 2011

Could Reveille and UGA scrap next year?

It has been a whirlwind day to say the least.  Rumors, denials, and everything in between have popped up today regarding the pending move of Texas A&M to the Southeastern Conference.  We are not in a position right now to say that this is a done deal.  I will say that no one to whom we have spoken today flat out denies that the Aggies could become the SEC’s 13th member.

In an attempt to solve some riddles, we have submitted an FOIA request to Texas A&M University.  (There is a big benefit in having a blog partner that is also an attorney.)  In this request we asked specifically for communication (including but not limited to electronic communication) between university president R. Bowen Loftin and/or his office and the Big XII Athletic Conference.  Texas A&M University Athletic Director Bill Byrne and/or his office was included in the FOIA request, too.  Any communication from the Big XII Athletic Conference to both cited university parties was also requested.

Adam recently received confirmation that the request is being processed.

Under Texas law they have 10 days to provide us with the documentation.  Given the university’s history with the FOIA laws, we are not holding our breath.  According to the Houston Chronicle:

A program that teaches college journalism students about using public information laws has run into an ironic dilemma. Teachers at one of the state’s largest university systems (Texas A&M University system) can be disciplined — even fired — if they ask students to file an open records request with their school.

If we get anything we will be quick to share it with you.  We will also continue hunt down any leads or tips provided to us.  This train is moving fast right now, but once the lawyers get involved I expect things to slow down considerably.  Lots of speculation right now that the only question out there is whether or not the Ags begin play in 2012 or 2013.  Of course, that’s just speculation….at the moment.

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Aggies to SECede?

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 9, 2011

Multiple sources in Texas tell me today that a deal to allow Texas A&M to join the SEC has been agreed to in principle.  An additional source – unconfirmed at the moment but typically reliable – tells me all 12 conference members have voted unanimously to accept A&M into the league.  Speculation out of Texas has the Aggies playing football in the SEC during the 2012 season, not in 2013 or 2014 as I first heard.

We’ll update as rumors are confirmed or denied.  If this is all true, it tracks with information I was given late last week that a deal between Texas A&M and the SEC was imminent.

More later…

FOR THE RECORD:  It needs to be understood that we are not journalists.   Adam, Jeff, and I work on this blog part time, typically during lunch breaks and at night.  Unless we specifically say otherwise, please understand that we are “talking out loud” as we track down stories and send/receive information from our sources and journalist friends.

UPDATE I:  I have a second source with ties to Aggie administration officials that confirms the Aggies and the SEC have been discussing a contract for membership.  No one is willing/able to confirm that the deal is complete, though.

UPDATE II:  The silence is deafening.  Nothing new to update right now.  Sorry.  If I get anything else confirmed or new news that I’m allowed to share, you can bet I’ll put it up here.

UPDATE III:  Billy Liucci (link to his Twitter feed) is all over this story from the Aggies perspective.  I note two major reports from him:

Facts: Ags still hold SEC invite (always have), SEC will take A&M as 13th team and, IF deal done this month, TAMU would play in SEC in ’12
More facts: A&M has not sent a “letter of intent” or “Dear John” letter to Big 12, SEC is not targeting OU or any other B12 schools

The second Tweet is particularly interesting because rumors this morning indicated that aTm had begun the official separation process. Thanks to Jack Hopkins at BobcatReport.com for sending me Billy’s Twitter feed.

UPDATE IV:  Lots of rumors out there that we cannot confirm right now.  They range from the Alabama AD Mal Moore restructuring their 2012 football schedule with Texas A&M included to Baylor looking for places to land.  Nothing we can substantiate right now, and it may be impossible to confirm some of this.  If you hear similar stories, though, let us know.

UPDATE V:  Nothing new at the moment, but we are actively tracking a few leads.  One Aggie reader suggests another person to follow on Twitter.  David Sandhop publishes the Aggie Websider and shares a good deal of info on his Twitter page.

Hearing from sources that formal invite document from SEC is being drafted.

UPDATE VI:  Looks like everyone needs to simmer down and settle in for the long haul.  I’ve been led to believe this is indeed happening.  It’s a major move by both sides, so the terms of the deal will be thoroughly reviewed.  There does appear to be some validity to the notion that both aTm and the SEC are negotiating when the Aggies would start play in football.

 

As I mentioned earlier, check out David Sandhop on Twitter.  He appears to be on point with what I have heard today.

@HopWebsiderThere’s probably nothing “imminent” today or this week. Right now, they’re just getting things in order

 

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The Lies of Texas

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 8, 2011

It’s heating up down in Texas, and the outside temperature has nothing on the boiling feud between the University of Texas and its Big XII brethren.

Very quietly – at least nationally – the pressure has been building on Texas to reveal the details of its deal with ESPN.  As you no doubt recall, Texas entered into a 20-year, $300 million deal with The Mothership to launch the Longhorn Network.  The LHN would broadcast one non-league UT football game, a handful of hoops games, and other live programming like baseball, track, women’s volleyball and basketball, etc.  In short, it would be the most boring network in the history of television – even to insufferable Longhorn fans.

Turns out there’s more to the initial reports of that deal.

It’s been widely reported lately that LHN wants to broadcast high school football games this season.  The teams involved in these games would feature key recruits the Longhorns have targeted.  All of this is nice and legal, of course, since the coaching staff and administration at Texas wouldn’t be directing which teams would be covered (wink, wink).

Now comes word from an Aggie blog that good ol’ Texas has big designs on expanding that network – and its own independence.

The most embarrassing section of the contract makes both Texas and ESPN look like ridiculous, petulant prep school kids:

…(T)he University of Texas has the ability to fire any ESPN on-air talent that doesn’t represent the university in the best light. Texas gets to determine it’s “quality and reputation” to all who view the network by threatening pink slips to those anchors who wish to express perhaps an honest opinion.  Don’t turn on the network and not expect a very slanted view of what is actually happening.  5-7 football team a year before?  Don’t worry, a Top 25 team in the preseason polls the next season.  Anyone who disagrees is shown the door.  But ESPN hasn’t been interested in telling viewers the whole or honest story at least since the Mike Leach and Adam James incident have they Mr. Joe Schad?

If Texas gets its own “state run” sports channel, what would other schools think of it?  Obviously they’d be looking for alternate routes.  All the money flows to Austin with no profit sharing for the other 9 league institutions.  The school would get to highlight targeted recruits’ high school games (via ESPN, of course, not the school itself), and it would ultimately get to broadcast more football games – taking even more money out of the total television package split among the league.

I’ve heard from folks in Aggieland that a decision could come as soon as this week or as late as the end of the football season that would place the Aggies in the SEC.  Even more rumors suggest Texas Tech has a deal in principle to join the Pac-12.  Oklahoma surely is looking into alternative plans should the rift ultimately destroy the league.

Of course, we’re dealing in rumors right now.  No one can say anything on the record.  It appeared last summer that the Aggies would jump into the SEC after Nebraska and Colorado announced their plans.  Texas conned everyone into sticking it out, but their LHN deal appears to contradict their stated goals of making the Big XII a fair, equitable playing field for all members.

The Lies of Texas, indeed…

The Texas/ESPN agreement, as pulled thanks to an Aggie FOIA request, can be found here.

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