Per Chip Brown - Dodds says UT & ND could form new conf.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 at 22:10:16 CT
The latest on Texas A&M, including comments from DeLoss Dodds
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said today if Texas A&M leaves the Big 12 to join the SEC, his hope will be that the Big 12 stays together.
Dodds' statement came in response to a question during a luncheon speech at the Young Men's Business League of Austin.
Dodds also said if it meant peace in the Big 12, the Longhorn Network would never air a high school football game.
Dodds asked how many Aggies were in the crowd. When one of the Aggies asked if airing high school games on the Longhorn Network would be an unfair advantage for Texas, Dodds asked the Aggie about the state 7-on-7 tournament featuring high school players on the College Station campus every summer.
Dodds smiled and asked, "Do you know how we feel about that tournament being in College Station?" Then he smiled and said, "You probably don't because we never talk about it."
If Texas A&M was to leave, Dodds said the Big 12 might seek to bring in another school. Dodds also said if there was not sentiment to hold the Big 12 together by the remaining members that Texas and possibly Notre Dame could join forces to create a new conference.
Dodds gave no indication that Texas would pursue the possibility of becoming an independent.
A top administrator at another Big 12 school said the possibility of some Big 12 schools talking to the Pac-12 could become a reality again if Texas A&M was to bolt for the SEC.
In short, everyone in the Big 12 is back in scramble mode until Texas A&M makes clear what its intentions are.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry told The Dallas Morning News Wednesday, "I'll be real honest with you. I just read about it the same time as y'all did. ... As far as I know, conversations are being had. That's frankly all I know. I just refer you to the university and the decision makers over there."
A Texas A&M source with direct knowledge of the Aggies' situation told Orangebloods.com the TAMU regents will be meeting later this month - possibly as early as Aug. 22 - to introduce a new chancellor and deliberate a potential move to the SEC.
A&M president Bowen Loftin has told reporters there is "uncertainty" about the Aggies' future in the Big 12.
The SEC has been largely silent on Texas A&M. And according to one SEC source, the Aggies will have to basically submit an application for acceptance into the SEC (that is expected to be rubber stamped in no time). That process allows members of the SEC to have plausible deniability about any move until A&M's application is submitted.
Two sources in the Big 12 said they've heard the SEC is also interested in adding Florida State to the SEC East.
Sources in the Big 12 say the same political forces that tried to slow down the breakup of the conference last summer are already trying to get answers from A&M about its intentions.
The Texas Legislature is no longer in session. But I was told Wednesday, "the legislators will have something to say about this."
For those wondering how Gov. Rick Perry might factor into all of this, Perry is weighing a run for the White House in 2012.
One source told me a move to the SEC by Texas A&M might help Perry, an A&M graduate and former yell leader, with voters in SEC states.
That's because a move by the Aggies into that conference would help the SEC get into Texas for recruiting purposes. Couldn't quite tell if the source was half-joking. Sadly, the source is probably right.
Several sources thought out loud about why Texas A&M would trade being in the more winnable Big 12, which has an easier path to a national title without a league title game, for a place in the SEC West with the likes of Alabama, LSU, Arkansas and Auburn.
"Texas A&M should be in the top three of the Big 12 in football every year," one Big 12 source said. "In the SEC, they'll fight to be in the top half of the conference every year."
But sources close to Texas A&M say the Aggies are losing faith in the Big 12 as it is currently constructed and have serious issues with Texas and the Longhorn Network.