The Southeastern Conference (SEC) responded to recent murmurs that Texas A&M wanted to join their ranks in the most puzzling possible way on Sunday.
After a meeting in Atlanta between the presidents of SEC schools ended with no clear-cut resolution on whether Texas A&M could jump ship, the conference opted to go the “not now” route. According to a statement offered by Florida president Bernie Machen, the SEC’s higher-ups are satisfied with the current breakdown of their situation, and as such, aren’t looking to invite any new members. For now.
"The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment," the statement read. "We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion.”
In two sentences, Machen managed to simultaneously kill the idea of bringing in new blood into the SEC, and then immediately rejuvenate it with no pause.
The only problem anyone involved would have with this suggested move, seemingly, is the question of which other school would accompany Texas A&M to the SEC. Although Missouri has long-since been rumored as the school that would split away into the SEC if Texas A&M made their move, they -- along with Virginia Tech, Clemson and Florida State -- announced this weekend that they had no intentions of leaving their current conference.
On the other side of things, the Big 12 has made it explicitly clear that they don’t care whether or not Texas A&M leaves, one way or the other. They seem fine with the school staying, but are equally nonchalant about the prospect of the Aggies heading elsewhere.
As per current league bylaws, Texas A&M would have to forfeit 90 percent of its revenues from conference payouts over the last two years if it leaves before 2012. That $28 million loss makes many wonder what exactly the school is looking to gain by making an exit. Granted, other schools have famously left their conferences for negotiated fees without having to forfeit massive totals, but those schools had clear and concise reasons for leaving.
If Texas A&M does opt to leave, the Big 12 would need to restructure the Fox deal they have in place which is worth a reported $90 million annually.