Will Baylor keep A&M from joining the SEC?

UPDATE #6: Dan Beebe releases statement Wednesday evening.

"This is the first time to my knowledge that a conference has been requested to waive any legal claims toward another conference for any damages suffered with a membership change.  The Big 12 Conference was asked by Texas A&M University and the Southeastern Conference to waive any such claim to help facilitate Texas A&M's departure from the Conference without any consideration to the Big 12.  Although they were not obligated to do so, the Big 12 Board of Directors decided to accommodate that request as it relates to The Big 12 Conference, Inc., which is reflected in the September 2 letter sent to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. 

However, the waiver did not and could not bind the individual member institutions' governing boards to waive institutional rights.  If the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, several institutions may be severely affected after counting on revenue streams from contracts that were approved unanimously by our members, including Texas A&M.  In some cases, members reasonably relied on such approval to embark on obligations that will cost millions of dollars."

 

UPDATE #5: Ok, now things are just getting ridiculous.  According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, KU, KSU, Iowa State, and Mizzou have now joined in the first to block A&M but, and this is the good part, only until OU agrees to stay in the Big 12.  Supposedly, once OU agrees to stay they'll waive their right to litigation and let A&M go.  Seriously?!?

UPDATE #4: Iowa State has joined the battle with Baylor

UPDATE #3:  Is it over already?

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UPDATE #2:  Maybe Beebe is showing a little backbone after all.  Here is a letter from Beebe to Slive imposing a deadline of 5 pm central time Thursday for A&M's official acceptance into the SEC.  What happens if Baylor doesn't waive their right to sue by that deadline?  Cue the dramatic soap opera exit music!

Dear Mike:

This is to confirm our discussion yesterday during which I informed you that the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors unanimously authorized me to convey to you and their colleagues in the Southeastern Conference that the Big 12 and its members will not take any legal action for any possible claims against the SEC or its members relating to the departure of Texas A&M University from the Big 12 and the admission of Texas A&M into the SEC; provided, however, that such act by the SEC to admit Texas A&M is publicly confirmed by 5:00 p.m. (CDT) on September 8, 2011.

Such admission of Texas A&M will result in the withdrawal of Texas A&M from the Big 12 Conference effective June 30, 2012. We both agreed it is in the best interests of each of our conferences and our member institutions of higher education to waive any and all legal actions by either conference and its members resulting from admission of Texas A&M into the SEC, as long as such admission is confirmed publicly by September 8, 2011.

If any of your presidents and chancellors have concerns about this commitment of the Big 12 Conference, they may contact me or Brady Deaton, Big 12 Board of Director chairman and chancellor of the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Sincerely,

Dan Beebe

Commissioner

UPDATE:  The SEC has now officially released a statement regarding A&M's acceptance, which confirms the speculation below.

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 interesting news coming out late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning surrounding A&M's invitation to join the SEC.  Chip Brown is reporting that the SEC presidents met Tuesday night and voted to admit A&M.  Cue the celebratory parade down Aggie Main Street right?  Well, maybe not quite yet because that invite comes with one potentially major stipulation.  According to Brown, their admission is contingent on the other nine Big XII schools waiving their right to litigation against the South Eastern Conference.  While the spineless commissioner of the Big XII, Dan Beebe, has reportedly given his seal of approval on the deal by waiving the conference's right to litigation this does not apply to all the individual schools.

So if all of this is actually accurate, and things seem to change almost by the hour so that's a big "if" at the moment, it would appear that all one school, who doesn't want to get left behind, without a home, in conference purgatory, could simply exercise said right to litigation and blow this whole thing up?  Cue the Baylor Bears.  Makes sense right? Have you heard Baylor's name in any of these "package deals" discussed with this group of teams moving here or that group of teams moving there?  If this is a legitimate option, why wouldn't they exercise their right and try to avoid being hung out to dry?  We've heard before just how Baylor could be if this came down to politics within the Texas legislature and if the reports are true, things could be about to get ugly.

If in fact, as we've heard so many times, the goal of schools like Oklahoma, or Texas, or Missouri, and now apparently Baylor, the goal is to keep the Big XII together it would appear they now have a rabbit to pull out of their collective hats. Now obviously there is still the possibility that the SEC could accept A&M even if Baylor, or any other team, did choose to sue the SEC, but then you'd have to ask yourself the following as Commissioner Mike Slive.  Is Texas A&M really worth all this trouble?  

Predictably, A&M fans have no worries about piddly little Baylor trying to prevent their inevitable ascension to greatness.

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