Overnight buzz was that the Southeastern Conference had met and unanimously approved the admission of Texas A&M University as the league’s 13th member, but various news reports indicate that one (possibly more) Big 12 school was still considering legal action.
While I don’t necessarily doubt those reporters’ sources, I don’t think the SEC would hold such a meeting, take such a vote, and release a statement on the matter if it didn’t have firm assurances that no legal action from Baylor (et al) was forthcoming.
Here’s the statement from Florida’s Bernie Machen, chair of the league’s chancellors and presidents board:
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. We were notified yesterday afternoon that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action.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.
Some are reading this statement to mean that there may still be a legal hurdle to overcome, and that the SEC isn’t being very business savvy by playing their cards this way. This is not how I understand what’s being communicated here.
Read the last sentence again:
“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.”
Upon receiving written notice that none of the Big 12 schools would stand in the way of Texas A&M leaving their conference and joining the SEC, the latter met and finalized the move. Upon hearing that at least one school in the Big 12 was reconsidering, Slive’s people contacted Beebe’s people and got the all clear—that Baylor (or whoever) had decided not to let the matter be decided by a judge and cleared the way.
That resulted in this morning’s statement, and it indicates to me that the deal is done.
Welcome to the Southeastern Conference, ladies and gentlemen. Tighten your chinstraps.