Southeastern Conference presidents will meet Sunday to discuss
Texas A&M's admission to the league, The New York Times is
A person with knowledge of the situation confirms to The
Associated Press that the meeting will be held in Atlanta. The
person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting had not
been publicly discussed.
The Times said all but one of the presidents will be at the SEC
meeting, held the day before the Texas A&M System board of regents
will meet. A special meeting is scheduled Monday that includes an
agenda item about conference alignment.
The session comes amid reports that Texas A&M is leaving the Big
12 for the SEC.
The SEC is interested in A&M because the move "brings us into
the Texas market," another person familiar with the situation told
the AP on Saturday. But the person added that "it's not about us
wanting or needing 14 teams, Texas A&M came to us."
The person said the conference could not ignore the Aggies.
"If A&M is dead set on getting away from Texas, whether it be
because of the Longhorn Network or if they have had enough for
whatever reason, you have to listen," the person said. "If you
don't, someone else will."
"It's a business decision."
Meanwhile, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and the conference's
Board of Directors discussed the future of the conference and Texas
A&M's possible departure during a teleconference Saturday.
"The board strongly conveyed to Texas A&M its unanimous desire
that it remain a Big 12 member, and acknowledged its value to the
conference," the Big 12 said in a statement released Saturday
night. "The other nine members reaffirmed their long term,
unconditional and unequivocal commitments made to each other and
the conference last summer."
The conference's statement said athletic directors took action
approved by the board to adequately address concerns Texas A&M
expressed about institutional networks.
If A&M does jump to the SEC and is put in the West Division, the
person speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity said the
conference will have to add a 14th team in the East. However, the
person said though the "Texas A&M thing will be decided in the
week or so, the 14th team has not been discussed."
Texas A&M considered switching to the SEC last year before
staying in the Big 12 after Nebraska and Colorado announced their
departures. Now that the Aggies seem to be looking to move again,
many are worried that it could jeopardize the future of the Big 12.
State Rep. Dan Branch, the chairman of the Texas House Committee
on Higher Education, called a hearing before his committee for
Tuesday with Big 12, SEC and Texas A&M officials. Texas A&M soon
moved up a meeting of the board of regents from Aug. 22 to Monday
that includes an agenda item about conference realignment.
According to media reports, several schools are being considered
for that 14th slot, including Florida State and Clemson.
Presidents at both those Atlantic Coast Conference schools said
Saturday they have had no contact with the SEC.
"From coach to (athletic director) to president and the board
chair (trustees), there has been no discussion," Florida State
University President Eric Barron told the AP in a phone interview
during a Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce meeting in Destin, Fla.
"I feel quite certain if any of those individuals had any
discussions, including me, we would have shared it with each
Clemson University President James Barker Saturday also denied
reports that the Tigers are considering a move.
"We are committed to the ACC," Barker said in a statement.
"We have had no contact with the SEC."
The Tigers have been charter members of the ACC since it was
formed in 1953. Florida State joined the ACC on July 1, 1991 after
months of courtship by the SEC.
The person said it's a "zero chance" that Florida State would
be the 14th team and that it is highly unlikely it would be any ACC
"Our presidents simply don't want to break up another
conference," the person said. "Remember, Texas A&M reached out to
us. You know how many households there are in Texas? 8.9 million.
Why would we want to hand that to the Pac 12 or any another
West Virginia and Missouri have also been mentioned, but the
person said Louisville would make more sense.
"The question is what's the dynamic with Kentucky? Will
Kentucky have a problem with it?" the person said. "I doubt
Kentucky would have the beef that Georgia does with Georgia Tech or
South Carolina does with Clemson."
Even golfer David Toms, who attended Louisiana State, weighed in
on SEC expansion. He said adding A&M would be a great addition to
"I hope it happens," Toms said Saturday after his third round
at the PGA Championship. "They were one of our rivals when I was
in college, and it was a lot of fun."
Toms' choice for a 14th team: Virginia Tech.
AP Sports Writers Brett Martel, Mark Long, Pete Iacobelli and
Kristie Rieken and AP Writer Brent Kallestad contributed to this
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)