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Texas A&M keeps options open

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M is looking into joining the SEC and contemplating remaining in the Big 12.

School president R. Bowen Loftin offered his first detailed comments Monday on the Aggies' interest in joining the SEC — a move that almost surely would set off another round of conference realignment.

"We've made no decision about terminating our relationship with the Big 12," Loftin said. "This is all about what is best for Texas A&M, along with … visibility for us and our athletes and financial resources."

He said there is no timetable for any decision and any realignment by Texas A&M will take place after a "lengthy" process. He acknowledged that Texas A&M had approached the SEC, which Sunday reaffirmed its 12-school membership while leaving the door open to expansion.

"There is no bid," Loftin said. "There has never been a bid to invite us into the SEC at any time in the past, and if it were to occur in the future, we would certainly want to evaluate that."

Loftin said Texas A&M is looking only at the SEC but didn't rule out other possibilities.

"It's not so much what's wrong with the Big 12, it's what's right for Texas A&M and where we want to go in time," he said.

Loftin said he began discussing Texas A&M's interest in the SEC with commissioner Mike Slive on July 21. Loftin said he would consider the ramifications for the Big 12.

Another key would be continuing its more than 100-year-old football rivalry with Texas.

Amid reports that Slive and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe had a heated phone conversation last week, NCAA president Mark Emmert reached out to various top college officials Monday, suggesting a meeting to discuss a more collegial way to approach conference expansion.

Fighting Sioux nickname gone: North Dakota's Board of Higher Education decided to retire the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname by year's end in a move that anticipates lawmakers will soon repeal a law requiring the school to keep the nickname. The nickname and a logo depicting an American Indian warrior are symbols that the NCAA contends are offensive. UND is attempting to join the Big Sky Conference next year, and the controversy might have affected its chances to do that.

Georgia: Linebacker Ray Drew is day to day after suffering a shoulder sprain in an accident while riding his scooter home from church Sunday.

Missouri: Senior offensive tackle Elvis Fisher, who has made 40 consecutive starts, will miss the season with a left knee injury. Fisher, a St. Petersburg Catholic grad, ruptured a patella tendon during a one-on-one pass blocking drill against defensive end Michael Sam. Surgery is scheduled today. Sophomore Justin Britt took his place.

Oregon: Receiver Josh Huff is wearing a walking boot. Coach Chip Kelly won't address anything specific about the injury.

USC: Curtis McNeal, competing to start at running back, suffered a knee injury during Sunday's scrimmage. His status is not known. Dillon Baxter had 16 carries for 101 yards.

Texas A&M keeps options open 08/15/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 15, 2011 11:18pm]

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