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A&M Fans Shouldn’t Blame The SEC For Being Cautious

Texas A&M fans are getting antsy.  Who wouldn’t considering their school’s situation?  Currently, they’re looking at a 2012 season with no conference to call home and without the massive television revenue such a home would provide.  That ain’t good.

Unfortunately, some hot heads are hitting the messageboards and talk radio stations to rip the SEC for not simply plowing right through the legal threats currently being tossed about by the Aggies’ rivals.  In their view, the SEC’s got nothing to lose.  If they’re not willing to grab A&M then the Aggies should start calling the Big Ten or the Pac-12.

Again, we said these were the hot heads of the A&M fanbase.  Check an Aggie messageboard and you’ll find ‘em.

But in reality, the SEC’s decision to allow Baylor and crew to stall and delay makes sense from a number of angles.  Below are five:

1.  No billion-dollar entity is going to ignore the threat of a possible billion-dollar lawsuit being filed against it.  No matter how silly the lawsuit might seem to non-lawyers — like the guys here at MrSEC.com — in the press.  The SEC is being prudent in asking A&M to get its house in order.

2.  By punting the ball back to A&M and the Big 12, the SEC set the table for the Pac-12 and Oklahoma to possibly start the whole expansion train rolling, thus ending any lawsuits against A&M or the SEC before they could be filed.  But the Pac-12 and OU are adamant that they won’t move until A&M goes.  Hey, the SEC gave it a shot.

3.  The SEC is clearly in no rush.  A&M is in the rush.  In fact, it was A&M that forced Mike Slive’s league into the hurry-up offense in the first place.  From an SEC perspective, if this thing takes a few more days to play out, that’s more time to consider possible options for School #14 and beyond.

4.  It’s likely that the SEC does not want to see the entire college football landscape shift.  Everyone knows it’s coming at some point, but since the success of such a set-up is still a great unknown, no one — including the SEC — wants to rush it.  So if allowing Baylor (and others) to slow the process down helps to eventually keep the Big 12 together, the SEC would likely be just fine with that.  The SEC could simply look east for its School #14… and a rebuilt Big 12 would be less likely to spawn lawsuits against the league and A&M.

5.  It’s possible that the SEC will eventually tire of this mess and plow forward if league lawyers believe the conference is completely buttoned-up from a legal perspective.  If that day comes, the league has now given itself more time to bone up on every clause and sub-clause in the Big 12′s contracts with Texas A&M.

Conference expansion isn’t made for our fast-food/Twitter world.  These things take time.  And the SEC is wisely not rushing matters.

Yet.

 


38 comments
Janson Roberts
Janson Roberts

SEC has no intention of pulling away. The SEC needs Texas A&M just as much as A&M needs the SEC. We have both put too much of ourselves in this expansion to just give up now. I know A&M SEC is going to happen. We as fans need to have some patience and let the conference leaders and our university leaders do their jobs. Give this some time people. We are looking forward to A&M being a part of our conference and I know there are alot of fans here in the SEC that are excited to begin seeing A&M within our athletic schedules in all sports not just football.

AggieDoctor
AggieDoctor

It's not blame, it's Aggie frustration and verbal lamenting over a lost opportunity. Most realize that the legal claim by Baylor makes against the SEC has no validity. Legal exerts have called it friviolous and a move of desperation on Baylor's part. The SEC isn't being cautious, they have reconsidered and are now pulling away from the idea of admitting A&M into the SEC. They are simply attempting to break off any relationship with A&M as politely as possible, by saying nice things and being cordial, but make no mistake, the deal is over and A&M will either enter negotiations with the PAC-12 or remain in the BIG-12 (little chance of becoming an independent). Aggies aren't blaming, we're just a little overwhelmed with frustration...

Bill
Bill

I fully believe Baylor did not care one bit about A&M leaving--it's a foregone conclusion--until Oklahoma's president came out last Friday in his muscle shirt to let everyone know that OU won't be pushed around by anyone (UT).

When OU is supposed to be helping lead the A&M replacement committee and they start making noise about leaving, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State all saw the writing on the wall. They went to full red alert and refused to waive their right to sue.

But most on here are right. If OU recommits to the Big 12, I fully believe the forgotten 5 will waive their right to sue and let A&M move on to becoming the Baylor of the SEC West. If the Big 12 can get BYU or maybe even Pitt or Louisville, who would triple their revenue, they probably survive.

Aggies like to make a big deal of Baylor's won/loss record in the Big 12, but since 2000, A&M is 0-6 against the SEC, including only 2 ranked opponents. Good luck Ags. You're the new Baylor.

TXVolum
TXVolum

I was with u until the last part. Aggies may not come in and win right away but they will be at least in the lower part of the middle of the sec. Better than vandy, ky, ole miss for sure. I'm pretty sure once Sherman gets ahold of how to play sec ball he will adapt fine. How long will it take..who knows but they will compete at the least. If he doesn't then the ags will just have to find a coach that will. Simple.

Bill
Bill

So A&M will compete to be in the middle of the pack in the SEC West? That's the best they can hope for? Why make the move when they finished 2nd in the Big XII South last year and made it to the Cotton Bowl? (Where they got beat pretty handily by LSU, I might add) So 5th or 6th in the SEC West (behind LSU, Ark, Ala, Aub, and MSU) is what they're shooting for? Hello, Liberty Bowl--if they get their 6 wins.
I personally don't know why the SEC would attempt the headache of taking A&M without a guaranteed 14th team. The scheduling nightmare would be tremendous. You really think Alabama and LSU want to give up one of the Sun Belt cupcakes to play another conference game? Alabama cried about playing teams after a bye week last year. Now if they had WVU wrapped up, then it might work.
I agree that teams and coaches adapt, and that potentially Sherman can do that. But A&M's recent history suggests they're in for a bumpy ride. On the contrary, I fully expect NU to dominate the B1G this year and battle with Wisconsin for the league title. Why? Because the B1G is weak sauce, and the Huskers knew they never could compete with UT and OU consistently in the Big 12.

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

I just read an article by Marc Hansen of the Des Moines (Iowa) Register that posted this morning. Baylor is the vocal one taking the media heat right now, but rest assured: Iowa State will be with them every step of the way. Iowa State was looking forward to using the increased revenue that they were going to get from the new TV deals to get their athletics department out of the red and finally become competitive. They don't want to go trudging off to the Mountain West - whose members only get $1.3 million in TV money a year - any more than Baylor does, and even though they are being a lot quieter than Baylor, they'll be just as committed in any legal fights. I guess it was not mere chance that Iowa State was the first school to line up behind Baylor - and do so clearly and publicly, although of course without the aggressive or threatening posture of the Bears - and that they were so quick to do it as well.

TXVolum
TXVolum

Yeah they need Baylor to ruffle the feathers of TX politicos. Otherwise, they would fall on deaf ears and no one would care.

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

Well, it worked last year, so why not try it again this year? That is what everyone - especially my fellow SEC fans that are so mad at Baylor right now - seem to be forgetting. Last year, the original deal was for A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech to join the Pac-10. The deal was signed, sealed and delivered and was on the verge of contracts being signed and publicly announced. I remember several media outlets reporting that the deal had been struck already and was going to be announced the next day. But Baylor went to work, producing the Perryman study and working the legislature. (Please note: there were no threatened lawsuits last year! Why? Because the Big 12 only had one year left on its TV contract: 2011. But this year, Baylor has explicitly - and Iowa State at minimum implicitly - threatened lawsuits, and the SEC and Pac-12 are both listening, as is Oklahoma. That is why I have so much trouble believing "these lawsuits are totally without merit and have no chance of working!" angle ... if that was the case Baylor would have sued last year too. It's not like Kenneth Starr just became president of Baylor on September 6th ... he was president last year also.) Now Baylor didn't stop the Pac-16 thing because they didn't have the power. But they did force the Pac-10 to offer Colorado first - in an attempt to block Baylor - and delayed the deal from being finalized and announced. It was during this delay that Gene Stallings helped get the A&M to the SEC ball rolling. (For some reason, A&M's decision to break away caused the deal to fall apart, so Texas went back to the Pac-10 demanding the right to start the LHN knowing that the Pac-10 would refuse.) No matter how SEC or A&M fans might want to deny it, this is what happened, it was widely reported in the media, and can easily be confirmed by Internet searches of media reports from last year. If it weren't for Baylor, Texas A&M would be miserable in the Pac-16 right now, and the SEC would have no shot at the Aggies (whom they will eventually get, as Baylor knows and has no real problem with).

Another curious thing: the lead sportswriter for the Daily Oklahoman put up a blog post suggesting that things have come to a standstill and could remain that way for quite some time (up to a year!) and it should be resolved by the SEC and the Big 12 schools who want to leave working to guarantee Baylor a spot in the Big East. Now this writer is very close to the Sooners, if you know what I mean ... if you want to know what OU is thinking but won't publicly say, reading this guy's column is a way to find out. So, if OU and the SEC can sell Baylor on the Big East and the Big East on Baylor, hmmm ...

TXVolum
TXVolum

I felt the fustration. That's why I kept my response civil. Ha!

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

Thanks. Wasn't accusing you really. Was just venting frustration that so many people either seem to have forgotten how this went down last year, or only want to remember things that are convenient. Another thing that they are "conveniently" forgetting: Texas A&M never waived their legal rights to sue Nebraska and Colorado last year. You know, the same thing that A&M and the SEC are crying foul over Baylor not doing is what they themselves refused to do last year. Also, A&M was just as willing as the other Big 12 schools to go to court to force Nebraska - who claimed that they didn't owe the Big 12 anything - and Colorado to pay their full exit fees before they ultimately settled out of court. So ... A&M is now trashing Baylor for doing the same thing that they did last year. Except that last year, A&M only did it for a few million bucks that they don't need. Baylor is doing it for the conference affiliation, exposure and over $100 million in TV revenue that they DO need. And to think that they are the ones calling BAYLOR hypocrites. But don't expect to see that history on any A&M or SEC site either. Now don't get me wrong ... I am an SEC fan and I 100% want A&M in the SEC. I just wish people would quit pretending that what Baylor is doing is so unprecedented and wrong. As a matter of fact, Baylor isn't doing anything now that the Big East didn't do just 8 years ago.

TXVolum
TXVolum

Ok. I wasn't disagreeing with u or forgot any past deals. Just wanted to say that Iowa st can only be in a support role to baylor cause they don't have much say. That's all.

Bob Magee
Bob Magee

I do not mind Baylor protecting itself, but doing so at the very last minute was very unseemly, We have made no secret of wanting to join the SEC for months if not years/decades. Baylor had every opportunity to publicly make their intentions clear as we did. Their decision to do so at the last minute is what I found frustrating.

Besides, they ruined a perfectly planned celebration. LOL.

I respectfully request our future SEC brethren do not become sick of the whole lot of us and decide we are not worth the trouble.

Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

I think everyone is making to big a deal out of this. It looks like this moved has saved the big 12 again. Now OSU is saying they want to stay in the Big 12 and so is Texas Tech and Texas. It comes down to OU and what they do. If they stay, they add BYU and the Aggies are free to go.

SEC-Ag
SEC-Ag

Thanks John. Ag here, great site. We don't fault the SEC for being very cautious, esp when Ken Starr is in the courtroom. The only thing I'm hot about is knowing the deal could/should have been voted and finalized immediately on Sept 2, when all the ducks were in and before people could back out of waivers.

When you have a deal of this magnitude, complexity and sensitivity you've got to pull the trigger the moment it's all lined up in the sights (this could have all been done over a short conference call Friday if trips to ATL were hard to line up). Could have been over and all this avoided. But letting the deal linger out there for 4 or 5 more days (seemingly for PR cycles and scheduling conveniences) just gave others time to re-shuffle the deck and put us in limbo after we did everything we were asked to do and went all the way out on the limb. The things we are asked to do now are out of our control.

It's not so much a lack of patience as it is a feeling the SEC underestimates how thin the ice is for us here, how volatile and double-crossing our Texas politics/rivals are (as you saw on Tuesday). Most Ags consider it something of a miracle that we've been able to get this close, and that time only gives our rivals/politicians another chance to shift the ground and keep us here. They are not surrendering by any means, regardless what they say.

It may be more convenient for SEC to wait for OU to go first - but I promise you if that happens it instantly changes the whole political dynamic in Texas. If OU leaves first A&M suddenly becomes the straw that finishes off the Big12, and you will see our politicians spring into a whole different fury and approach to keep the Texas schools together. THAT is the move Ken Starr is angling for (not suing SEC), and they have the next shoe ready to drop as soon as OU decides. They are going to make sure that either us or OU stays, and they'd prefer it be us.

Yes A&M will always want to go to the SEC. We don't want any other conference, and we don't mean to make an ultimatum about it. But we know that right now we're in a unique political situation of being able to call our shot, and we probably only have this one shot. It's a perfect storm, and we can't count on being in this situation again next year or anytime - we've never been free like this before. So we would sadly have to take our 2nd choice in this round if the alternative is going back to the Big 12, even temporarily. If we do that we are surely stuck there for a long, long time. We have no guarantee or confidence of another crack at SEC in the future, from our end. We just hope the SEC realizes this so we can get hitched!

Houstonvol
Houstonvol

That is the reason A&M has to leave the B12 this year. The Texas legislature is done until 2013. The only way that the legislature can get involved is for Perry to call a special session. Since he is an Aggie and supports the move, that is not going to happen. So state reps can saber rattle all they want, but cannot do anything about it. Come 2013, A&M will be gone from the B12, said goodbye to the Texas university and there is nothing that can be done about it.

TXVolum
TXVolum

Yeah I don't think many outsiders realize how the poltics here in TX is gonna meddle where they shouldn't. But what else is expected. I'll be honest not sure what I think about a 14-16 team conference but if we're gonna grab one I'm glad it's the Aggies. Y'all r strange but y'all own it. Thats all that matters.

As long as we don't lose playing UGA, UF, and bama every yr then i'll bless the expansion. If we do I'll be bitter. Would like VA tech, if they can leave UVA behind, cause playing them in Bristol every yr would be sick! WVa would be a solid alternative.

S.r. Foster
S.r. Foster

TXAGinAR,

What do you mean by improper contact--like the contact made by the Big XII to Arkansas, just last week, and as reported by the Arkansas A.D.?

These are universities. They are allowed to talk to each other, for goodness sakes. And they are allowed to leave per their conference by-laws. They just have to follow procedure and pay liquidated damages. Baylor's the ones that have gone "Full Koresh" in Waco and are using litigation as a threat ...

TXAGinAR
TXAGinAR

There are no "damages" as a result of the Big 12 approaching Arkansas because they said no. If Arkansas suddenly got Mad Cow disease and decided to defect to the Big 12 as a result of that contact, that might amount to tortious interference with a business contract. What Baylor is doing now is actually tortious interference with a prospective business relationship (A&M and SEC).

TXAGinAR
TXAGinAR

You are right... they can talk. However, if any conference to school contact is seen to be poaching, there *may* be grounds for lawsuit. I agree that they have the right to talk to whomever they like, but they also know that those conversations could be used against them.

I will repeat: unless there is a reason for SEC to be worried that they did something improper, A&M should just indemnify them for any legal action Baylor may or may not take against the conference and get on with it already.

TXAGinAR
TXAGinAR

As this delay continues, it makes me wonder if improper contact WAS indeed made by the SEC to A&M prior to A&M cutting loose of the Big 12 and asking for an invitation to the party. Without any letters or emails to A&M from Slive wondering if the Aggies would be interested in coming over to the SEC, the delay is just giving Baylor's threat a few muscles it doesn't have on the face of the matter. Baylor can not sue A&M, but if nothing untoward has happened between A&M and SEC, then the Aggies should just indemnify the SEC and move forward with the membership.

hangtime79
hangtime79

A public university cannot indemnify a private corporation just like a private company cannot sue TAMU and collect massive damages, its a misplacement of public money. Now the aTm athletic department could indemnify the SEC, but the size of the lawsuit that's getting kicked around would be such that the indemnification in the event the SEC lost the lawsuit (forget about chances, slim as they may be) would surpass the athletic department's abilities and the SEC is still on the hook then. Therefore, we're all here until Larry Scott and OU decide to get together and WWIII starts in the court's or OU settles down, BYU comes to the Big 12 and TAMU goes on its merry way.

viciousdawg
viciousdawg

Couldn't A&M just sue Baylor for not allowing them to leave like the bylaws say?

Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

I'm sure they can, but this would delay things longer. The SEC wants all this stuff done, before they join the sec

Tyler B
Tyler B

I'd be curious to see what the Big-12 TV contract says... I'm not sure how long the most recent deal they signed lasts for, but as long at the Big-12 stays together Baylor will still be getting money. Let's say half the conference leaves and a bunch of Big East crustiness replaces them, won't Baylor still get their cash? What if there are only nine teams in the "Big-12" for 2012? Would this mean Baylor would get even more money than they are right now?

Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

Lol. Just read where Ken Starr is saying a lawsuit or price A&M would pay for them to drop the legal action would be 1 trillion. That's funny.

Joe
Joe

Where did you read that? I have a bu friend that keeps saying that they have not threatened to sue and I would love to send him a link to this moron.

Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

on the Texas A&M to the sec facebook site.

Bill
Bill

Then it must be true.

Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

Why would the SEC do anything before Oklahoma does? My understand from all the big 12 and ESPN reports are saying all schools will sign off on legal action if the sooners stay. OU said 3 weeks at most, a week ago? So what's two morew weeks? THe SEC isn't stupid. IF OU goes, that probably means that OSU, Texas, and Texas Tech goes. That means the conference is dead. Other reports have the Big East ready to take Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, and Mizzou. That would give them 13 football schools, but 12 if West Virginia goes to the sec as expected. At that point, the Aggies could walk into the sec with no autographs. So why would anyone be mad at this point?

TXAGinAR
TXAGinAR

Baylor won't be getting an invite from any conference, let alone the Big East, after this. Who in their right mind would want to become business partners with an entity that pulls out threats of litigation? Even as baseless as their suit may be, it will still cost money and time. That is not a school I want to do business with.

tradeassociation
tradeassociation

100% wrong. Are you forgetting that the Big East sued the ACC just a few years ago? Also, despite everyone getting up on their high horse, the simple truth is that there isn't a single school in the country who wouldn't do what Baylor is doing now if they were facing their same set of circumstances, and the Big East's lawsuit and PR campaign (both of which were very similar to what Baylor is doing now) proves it.

matthew
matthew

The Aggies are not the problem. bu and tu are the problem. When the big 12 goes down, they are both screwed, in different ways.

Kyle Allen
Kyle Allen

As discussed above by my fellow Ags. Most of us (98%) know that we need patience at the moment. SEC is not only protecting its members, but it is also protecting it's newest member.

It is actually kind of refreshing for the college football world to finally see why NU and CU left and what the Ags have been putting up with for several years.

chrisag92
chrisag92

Aggies have no right to be upset with the SEC. It's just gotta be a situation where we are upset with the situation and it's gotta come out somehow. Apologies on behalf of them. We are still in the Big 12. We won't find ourself without a Conf unless we choose that route. Looking forward to the move though. Ready to embark on a new journey.

NTXAG
NTXAG

It seems everyone is focused on the short term scenarios, 2012 or 2013 seasons. John, put on your crystal ball glasses and tell us how you see the football landscape looking like 7 - 10 years from now? It looks like the super conferences are coming but where will they stop, 16 or 20 teams? A&M may start the ball rolling but once it shakes loose, I have a feeling those left out, like Baylor will start a litigation nightmare to be included in their share of the pot of gold. There is too much money involved. Do you think the super conference idea is here to stay or do you think that eventually the top 64, 80 or whatever number of the schools will sit down, divide the country into regions and decide the championship in playoffs? I favor getting this going now!

92agz
92agz

It's like Christmas morning. We see the present. We see how big it is. We know it is going to be awesome. We know it will make us very happy. What? Why? Come on Dad, make the coffee already and brush your damn teeth. Come on Dad. When do we get to open it!

I personally have been waiting for this moment since the SWC broke up. Waiting another week or two, while it would suck, is not going to temper by enthusiasm. Might kill my productivity a bit, though. Anytime a person throws out the word lawsuit, the prudent things is to get your ducks in a row, establish your strategy, and take your time. President Loftin and Mike Slive have handled this brilliantly and I have faith that they will not let that wacko Ken Starr derail this thing.

S.r. Foster
S.r. Foster

Most A&M fans wish this were done, but we're patient. Nothing in life that's great comes easy, and the SEC is the greatest conference of them all. We'll continue to trust our university president and SEC leadership to work through the minefields. Just won't be getting much work done ;-)

Rob Harris
Rob Harris

Most A&M fans are just frustrated...not really hotheaded. Message boards just give them a place to vent.__It's been a frustrating series of delays, but I think we all know it will work out in the end.

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