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Reports: SEC meets today, eyes four in all

Eleven of the 12 SEC presidents will meet today at a secret location — with the 12th to talk by conference call — to discuss the admission of Texas A&M, the New York Times reported Saturday.

ESPN, meanwhile, reported an announcement could come as early as Monday and the Aggies could begin play in the SEC as early as next season. In addition, ESPN reported the SEC wants to grow to 16 teams and a "high-ranking A&M official" said Florida State, Missouri and Clemson also were likely to join.

Officials from FSU, Missouri and Clemson denied they have talked to the SEC.

"From coach to (athletic director) to president and the board chair (trustees), there has been no discussion," FSU president Eric Barron said Saturday.

Barron sounded more amused than irritated by the reports: "There's certainly a lot of scurrying about, for sure," he said.

Missouri and Clemson said they are committed to the Big 12 and ACC, respectively.

A&M almost left the Big 12 last year, when the conference lost Colorado and Nebraska to the Pac-12 and Big Ten, respectively.

It stayed after being assured of a big TV contract, which turned out to be $1.17 billion over 13 years from Fox and likely more from upcoming negotiations with ABC/ESPN for a new contract. But the creation of Texas' Longhorn Network apparently changed its mind.

The New York Times reported A&M's president, R. Bowen Loftin, called SEC commissioner Mike Slive three weeks ago saying the Aggies regretted not leaving last summer. It also reported Slive and SEC lawyers met with A&M officials two weeks ago.

Saturday, the Big 12's board of directors met via teleconference.

"The Board strongly conveyed to Texas A&M its unanimous desire that it remain a Big 12 member," it said in a statement. "The Board noted that Texas A&M expressed concerns about institutional networks and that the athletic directors worked together and took actions … to adequately address those concerns."

The Texas A&M system board of regents has called a meeting for Monday that includes an agenda item called, "Authorization for the President to Take All Actions Relating to Texas A&M University's Athletic Conference Alignment, The Texas A&M University System."

A Texas House committee has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on realignment. Dan Branch, chairman of the committee, said he doesn't believe A&M will leave before then, adding his understanding is the agenda item is to "authorize the president to enter into negotiations with the SEC if a bid is extended."

Reports: SEC meets today, eyes four in all 08/13/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 13, 2011 11:47pm]
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