A threat of legal action by Baylor has, at least temporarily, held up Texas A&M’s move to the SEC. The SEC’s presidents voted unanimously Tuesday night to extend an invitation to Texas A&M to become the league’s 13th member, but that invitation is contingent upon all of Texas A&M’s Big 12 counterparts waiving their right to a legal challenge.
A source said Baylor had broken ranks with the remaining Big 12 members, which decided last week to waive their right to legally challenge a move by Texas A&M. In a statement, Florida president Bernie Machen, the chair of the SEC’s presidents group, said the SEC would not accept Texas A&M as a member until the potential legal roadblocks were cleared.
“We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action,” Machen said in the statement. “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 president R. Bowen Loftin issued a statement Wednesday morning:
“We are certainly pleased with the action taken last night by the presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference to unanimously accept Texas A&M as the league’s 13th member. However, this acceptance is conditional, and we are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in Big 12 Conference. These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on Sept. 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC.”
USA Today reports that Iowa State, which would likely join Baylor out in the cold once the music stops, is also keeping its legal options open. Richard Justice thinks Baylor is just doing what it can to delay the inevitable, and I can’t blame them for that. I don’t think it will end well for them, however. Sure does suck not having a Governor and Lieutenant Governor looking out for you any more. Hair Balls has more.