The Southeastern Conference presidents announced today that they will vote to admit Texas A&M into the SEC once the university has resolved its legal issues concerning withdrawal from the Big 12. The school is expected to leave the Big 12 next June.
In a statement from University of Florida president Bernie Machen, who is chairman of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors, the SEC was under the impression that the Aggies were free to leave the Big 12 without legal action, but since then there has been opposition from one school.
"After receiving unanimous written assurance from the Big 12 on September 2 that the Southeastern Conference was free to accept Texas A&M to join as a new member, the presidents and chancellors of the SEC met last night with the intention of accepting the application of Texas A&M to be the newest member of the SEC,'' Machen's statement said. "We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action. 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.''
In a letter from Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive dated Sept. 2., Beebe said the school was free to leave without legal repercussions.
Beebe's letter stated in part: "This is to confirm our discussion yesterday during which I informed you that the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors unanimously authorized me to convey to you and their colleagues in the Southeastern Conference that the Big 12 and its members will not take any legal action for any possible claims against the SEC or its members relating to departure of Texas A&M University from the Big 12 and the admission of Texas A&M into the SEC; provided, however that such act by the SEC to admit Texas A&M is publicly confirmed by 5:00 p.m. (CDT) on September 8, 2011.
"Such admission of Texas A&M will result in the withdrawal of Texas A&M from the Big 12 conference effective June 30, 2012. We both agreed it is in the best interests of each of our conferences and member institutions of higher education to waive any and all legal actions by either conference and its members resulting in admission of Texas A&M into the SEC, as long as such admission is publicly confirmed by September 8, 2011."
Baylor is the school reportedly threatening a lawsuit.