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Texas A&M's move to to SEC delayed by legal snag

September 7, 2011 |  8:42 am

The Southeastern Conference on Wednesday announced it had unanimously accepted Texas A&M as its 13th member.

No surprise there, as the move has been speculated for weeks.

The move, however, is on hold.

In a statement, the SEC said on Friday it received assurances from the Big 12 it was free to extend Texas A&M an invitation. The SEC said it received word Tuesday afternoon that at least one school had withdrawn its previous consent and was "considering legal action." ESPN, citing sources, reported Baylor as being one of the schools.

If the Big 12 dissolves as a result of further expansion, Baylor is a school vulnerable to not landing in a major conference.

"The SEC has stated that to consider an institution for membership, there must be no contractual hindrances to its departure," the conference's statement said.

Texas A&M's ultimate move to the SEC could set off the next wave of conference expansion and reconfigure the college landscape. The Aggies' departure would leave the Big 12 with only nine schools, which has prompted Oklahoma to consider refuge in the Pac-12. Oklahoma State would likely follow Oklahoma but it's unclear whether Texas and Texas Tech would join to form the Pac 16.

Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops suggested the Sooners could leave for another conference without Texas, even if it meant ending its annual Red River Rivalry game against the Longhorns.

"I know no one wants to hear that," Stoops said at his weekly Tuesday press conference. "But things change. If it changes you've got to change with it."

Pac 12 Commissioner Larry Scott said last week that his conference is not actively seeking to expand but has fielded phone calls from interested schools.

"Schools have reached out to us," Scott told reporters before Saturday's Oregon-LSU game in Arlington, Texas. "But we're not doing anything proactively."

Last year, Scott failed to lure six Big 12 schools to form the Pac 16 and ultimately added Colorado and Utah. Scott has publicly stated he thinks 16-team conferences are the wave of the future because of "instability in certain parts of the country."


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-- Chris Dufresne

Photo: Texas A&M Coach Mike Sherman. Credit: Dave Einsel / Associated Press