Personally I think Texas A&M is a good fit for the SEC. Yeah I know there's a lot of people out there who don't want to see the mega-conferences come along, I get that. But just about everyone keeps saying they see this becoming inevitable. If that's the case I don't think the SEC needs to rest on it's laurels. I'd rather see the SEC be proactive and try to get the best schools out there. Not having to go for the leftovers after the other conferences like the PAC take whoever they want.
When Nebraska left the Big 12, no one sued. When Colorado left the Big 12, no one sued. When TCU and BYU left the Mountain West, no one sued. When Boise State left the WAC, no one sued.
But with Texas A&M set to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, the threat of lawsuit has slowed the process.
The Big 12 last week waived its right to litigation which appeared to open the door for A&M and the SEC to officially consummate their relationship. That was expected to happen today. But the SEC’s presidents want assurances that no Big 12 school will act on its own to sue.
Baylor has not given that assurance.
“We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action,” said Florida president Bernie Machen in a statement released by the SEC this morning. “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.”
A&M’s announcement and celebration are now on hold. The SEC has voted to accept A&M — unanimously, as expected — but not without Baylor agreeing not to sue. So the ball is clearly in Baylor’s court.
Baylor and president Kenneth Starr are literally holding Texas A&M and every other school in the country hostage. They are preventing other universities from acting in their own best interests.
Nevermind the fact that Baylor high-tailed it for the Big 12 back in 1996 with nary a thought for old SWC mates TCU, SMU, Rice and Houston.
In addition to releasing its statement, the SEC also released the Big 12′s letter sent on September 2nd. The letter from commissioner Dan Beebe read in part: “We both agreed it is in the best interests of each of our conferences and our member institutions of higher education to waive any and all legal actions by either conference and its members resulting from admission of Texas A&M into the SEC, as long as such admission is confirmed publicly by September 8, 2011.”
UPDATE – Some have pointed out that the remaining Big East schools sued the ACC when it absconded with Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech in 2003. But as we recently noted on the site, that lawsuit was eventually settled for a paltry $5 million — in league terms — two years later.
That suit was not the act of one school, it didn’t feature a billion-dollar claim (as has been suggested regarding an SEC suit), and it was not aimed at one, lone conference commissioner (as it’s been suggested that Baylor might sue Mike Slive personally). This one appears to be a first of its kind move by the Bears.