A&M board gives OK to explore conference affiliation

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It was reported just a short time ago that the Texas House of Representatives had canceled a meeting of the Higher Education Committee scheduled for tomorrow to discuss Texas A&M’s conference affiliation.

A meeting of the school’s Board of Regents schedule for today, however, went ahead as planned.  And the outcome of the meeting signaled the A&M-to-the-SEC talk will not die anytime in the near future.

According to multiple media outlets, the regents unanimously voted this afternoon to give President R. Loftin Bowen permission to “take action on conference alignment.”  Translated into English, that means Loftin has been given official permission to pursue a move from the Big 12 to the SEC.  The next step in the process — provided there are no legal obstacles that still need to be navigated — Will Likely be for Loftin to officially approach the SEC regarding A&M’s interest in becoming a member of the conference.

“It’s not so much what’s wrong with the Big 12,” Loftin said following the meeting, “it’s what’s right for Texas A&M. …

“What we do will be in the best interest of Texas A&M and the state of Texas. We don’t want the Big 12 to go away.”

The SEC announced Sunday that the “Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment” after discussing “criteria and process associated with expansion. The statement ended by noting that “[n]o action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M.”

That statement was viewed by most as simply a tactical maneuver by the SEC, in effect shielding itself from the perception that they were raiding another conference and thus opening itself up to potential litigation.

With what was expected to be the regents’ rubber-stamping Loftin’s desire to pursue a new conference for A&M now official, it’s a clear signal that A&M will push ahead in its attempt to gain membership in the SEC.  What the legal ramifications for the school from the Big 12, however, remains to be determined.