Saturday, August 13, 2011

Branch doesn't think A&M will move before hearing

A Texas legislator doesn't believe Texas A&M will leave the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference before a hearing in front of his committee Tuesday.
State Rep. Dan Branch, the chairman of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education, called a hearing before his committee for Tuesday with Big 12, SEC and Texas A&M officials. Texas A&M soon moved up a meeting of the board of regents from Aug. 22 to Monday that includes an agenda item about conference realignment.
He said it would be "inappropriate" for Texas A&M to switch conferences before the hearing.
"I'm told by A&M officials that it is not an attempt to pre-empt legislators questions and that this will take perhaps a week to two weeks to work out anyway, if a bid is extended," Branch said.
He added that his understanding that the item on the agenda is simply to "authorize the president to enter into negotiations with the SEC if a bid is extended."
Branch wants to talk with officials to find out how such a move would impact the state and other Texas schools in the Big 12.
"If a bid has been extended by the SEC at that point, then what I hope to hear from them is the merits of that proposal, why that's a positive deal for the state of Texas and for Texas A&M University and our student athletes and what are the economics of that," he said. "I also hope to hear the consequences and the effects of such a move on our other Tier I institution, the University of Texas at Austin, and emerging Tier I school Texas Tech University and even Baylor University and the overall effect on the Big 12 Conference."
Texas A&M considered switching to the SEC last year before staying in the Big 12. Now that the Aggies seem to be looking to move again, many are worried that it could jeopardize the future of the Big 12.
The remaining nine athletics directors are "rock solid together" and "unequivocal" in their commitment to the Big 12 while Texas A&M is considering its options, according to a conference official with knowledge of the discussions among the other ADs.More...

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