Governor Rick Perry confirms there’s a fire somewhere behind the smoke that’s coming out of College Station this week. The Aggies, upset over the lucrative new Longhorn Network, have rekindled talks of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.
Lopez Blog: Everything Dan Beebe Says Nudges The Aggies Closer To The SEC (8/9/11)
Wednesday afternoon in Austin, Perry told the Dallas Morning News “conversations are being had” regarding Texas A&M’s potential departure. But Perry, a former Aggie yell leader who is still well-connected in College Station, didn’t elaborate further, referring reporters to contact the university and its decision makers.
The Aggies released a statement when asked to respond:
President (R. Bowen) Loftin is committed to doing what is best
for Texas A&M not only now, but also into the future. …
We continue to have wide-ranging conversations
regarding all aspects of the university,
including both academics and athletics.
Related: Are The Aggies Headed To The SEC?
Loftin’s statement, by not denying the ongoing talks, only fanned the flames of speculation the Aggies could be leaving. Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe told the Austin American-Statesmanhe has heard the reports that Texas A&M is considering leaving and is “taking it very seriously.”
Beebe was instrumental in keeping the Big 12 from breaking up last year, negotiating a $1.2 billion new television contract with Fox Sports. The new contract managed to scuttle talks of UT leaving for the Pac-12 and A&M heading to the SEC. But the scheduled launch of the new Longhorn Network later this month, a huge new revenue stream for the Aggies’ chief rival, stirred the pot again, leading A&M officials to begin discussing a move again.
An unnamed Big 12 school official told the Statesman if Texas A&M leaves, the Big 12 would likely invite Notre Dame and Arkansas to take the Aggies place. That would likely be a dream scenario however. More likely candidates, according to the report, are the University of Houston, Louisville, Brigham Young and Air Force.