It looks like Texas A&M is ready to leave the Big 12 Conference to join the SEC. The university’s Board of Regents called a meeting for Monday to give school president R. Bowen Loftin authorization to make the move on conference alignment.
Eight of the other nine remaining Big 12 schools all came out publicly in support of the keeping the Big 12 together including Missouri’s athletic director Mike Alden who released a statement saying, “Missouri is committed to the Big 12.”
The lone school that was silent was Oklahoma. The Sooners are really the school that keeps this conference together. If the Big 12 broke apart, Texas would go on as an independent. They already have their deal in place with ESPN for the Longhorn Network, which is worth $300 million over the next 20 years to Texas.
However, if OU goes, so does the rest of the conference. I don’t see how the Big 12 could remain viable. I’m not suggesting that OU is considering a move, because Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione, was a member of the conference since his days in the Big Eight at Missouri, has been a vocal supporter of the Big 12 in the past.
The reason for A&M wanting to leave basically comes down to this Longhorn Network. In addition to the huge cash infusion, the final straw may have come when the Longhorn Network announced it would air Texas high school games. A&M officials called foul, citing an unfair advantage in recruiting.
There are some within the Big 12 conference who thinks nine is a good number, other would like to see 10 and one possible choice would be to add Houston to gain that television market. The conference could also look at adding three schools to get back to 12.