A&M seeks SEC, but does sec want the Aggies?
Last week the media kept running stories about Texas A&M being unhappy about the University of Texas and ESPN teaming up for the Longhorn Network and threatening to leave the Big 12 and joining the Southeastern Conference.
It was difficult to find information that wasn’t slanted by bloggers from both schools, so I decided to phone my old friends Wayne and Kay Morris, who are probably the most vociferous non-alumni Texas A&M fans in the world.
Wayne and Kay were born and raised right here in the Orange area and lived here until a couple of years ago when they moved to the Houston area to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
The Morrises were under the impression that the SEC invited the Aggies but not the Longhorns to join their elite conference, but said their son Chuck was involved with the Texas A&M Council of Athletic Ambassadors and attended a meeting at College Station last weekend.
So I phoned Chuck, who graduated from West Orange-Stark in 1983 and Texas A&M in 1987 and also lives in the Houston Area.
Chuck said the main thing the Aggies are doing now is to avoid being involved in a lawsuit from the Big 12 for threatening to leave that conference for the second time in less than a year.
“We (Texas A&M) must first inform the Big 12 that we wish to withdraw from the conference and then I believe we’ll be extended an invitation from the SEC to become a member of its Western Division,” Chuck speculated.
Chuck pointed out that the members of the A&M Regents, college president and athletic director have been talking about the pros and cons of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC ever since the Longhorn Network came into existence.
“I’ve been an A&M season-ticket holder for nearly 20 years and having the Aggies join the SEC has been something I’ve always wanted,” Chuck said. “I believe we’re more part of the South than the Midwest with Big 12 conference members from Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa.
“We want to chart our own course and by joining the SEC, which I believe is the strongest football conference in the nation, it will give A&M a much bigger stage on which to perform,” Chuck concluded.
Chuck’s analogy was pretty much substantiated by an article in Monday’s Houston Chronicle that was written by the College Station Bureau that the SEC’s chairman and chancellors said in a statement: “No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M to expand the number of institutions in the league.”
The SEC’s announcement Sunday that it intends to stick with 12 universities didn’t deter A&M officials from their plans to move forward for the Aggies to join the SEC. They added that the declarations by the SEC and A&M were meant to cover the two schools on the legal front.
One A&M official said no action was taken because the SEC and A&M must establish that A&M contacted the SEC about the move and not the other way around to avoid potential lawsuits from the Big 12 and perhaps TV networks.
The Aggies are intent on leaving the Big 12 after A&M president R. Bowen Loftin expressed displeasure with Texas’ ESPN-owned Longhorn Network—he said July 21 that the network had created “uncertainty” in the Big 12—and Texas A&M’s general unhappiness with what it perceives as an unstable league, according to the Chronicle.
The article also pointed out that the A&M president has stressed that the Aggies joining the SEC has more to do with the long-term “security and stability” of the SEC than the overall unhappiness with the Big 12.
Orangebloods.com said Sunday that the Aggies will be announced as members of the Southeastern Conference beginning in 2012 within 21 days. According to an official in the Big 12, Texas A&M’s buyout (exit fees) could reach $30 million to leave the Big 12.
Should the Aggies become the SEC’s 13th member, they would be part of a seven-team SEC West, with the likes of national champion Auburn, Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
The Big 12 reportedly told A&M that the University of Houston would serve as a viable replacement should the Aggies head east. Texas A&M competed in the now-defunct Southwest Conference from 1915-1995 and has been members of the Big 12 since.
This Korner can’t imagine the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry ending, but if it continues, the game will be merely for pride and not for a conference championship or even for the significance of a bowl bid. It will just be another game. There’s a good chance the Longhorns won’t even want to play Texas A&M after this.
Like the Aggie Fight Song says, “Good-bye to Texas University!!!”
KWICKIES…St. Louis Cardinals’ slugging first baseman Albert Pujols smashed a home run estimated at 465 feet Sunday that is the longest homer ever hit at Busch Stadium. The blast bested the 452-foot shot hit by teammate Lance Berkman on July 5. Pujols has already reached the 400-homer plateau and is only 31 years old.
And while on the subject of sluggers, Minnesota Twins’ designated hitter Jim Thome went into Monday’s series at Chicago against the White Sox needing two home runs to become only the eighth major leaguer to reach the 600-plateau. Thome ripped a pair of round-trippers after sitting at 598 homers since Aug. 4.
The Chicago Cubbies stopped Dan Uggla’s hitting streak at 33 games Sunday and then rallied from a four-run deficit to beat the Atlanta Braves 6-5 Sunday. Uggla’s streak was the longest in the major leagues in five years.
The Houston Astros are not only losing baseball games in bunches, but they are having trouble scoring runs. On their last seven-game road trip, the ‘Stroes got off to a flying start with an impressive 9-1 victory over Arizona Aug. 8 and then lost the next three to the Diamondbacks and then went to weak-sister LA where the Dodgers shut out the Astros twice and beat them 6-1 on Saturday. They returned home with a dismal 38-83 record to play the Chicago Cubbies in a three-game series that began Monday with a 4-3 loss—their seventh in a row– are off Thursday and play the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants this weekend.
Wade Phillips’ new 3-4 defense looked good Monday night against the New York Jets while the second and third-string quarterbacks for the Houston Texans led a second-half charge to defeat the visitors at Reliant Stadium 20-16 in their first exhibition game of the season.
JUST BETWEEN US…There are just about two weeks left before the entries close for the fun-filled 52nd Annual Labor Day Golf Tournament sponsored by Community Bank of Texas and the Men’s Golf Association at Sunset Grove Country Club. The gala tourney is set for Sept. 2, 3, 4 and 5 at Sunset Grove in Orange. Club Pro Jeff Cooper said the entries are not coming in as early as in previous years and hopes those who intend to play in the three-day, 54-hole event get their entry fees in by next week so the staff can figure on the amount of food and prizes to order and the number of golf carts to bring in. If there is a full field, the event will have a Pro Flight, 6 flights of 54-hole medal play plus a 36-hole senior play. The MGA will offer closest-to-the-hole prizes and Miller Lite will sponsor a long drive contest Friday afternoon around 5 p.m. after the Pro-Am Tournament is over. Entry fees are $375 for the Pro Flight, $180 for amateurs and $130 for seniors. The entry fee covers admission to all four days of events for participants and guest. For additional information contact Jeff Cooper at 409-883-9454.