The long-awaited departure of Texas A&M will be a reality come June 2012, when the Aggies are moving from the Big 12 conference to the SEC.
The move was not a surprise to many college athletic analysts because Texas A&M’s president R. Bowen Loftin has had meetings with the SEC commissioner Mike Slive since July 21.
“I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference," Loftin wrote in a letter to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe on Wednesday, after receiving authorization. (www.espn.com)
The relocation was prompted because Loftin didn’t believe that the Big 12 was stable enough to offer the program a steady opportunity to gain new fans and put its program out to a nationwide televised audience.
The SEC has been booming since the late 1990s and it seems to be a slam-dunk deal
for both Texas A&M and the SEC. The SEC will now have 13 teams come 2012 and that number could continue to grow.
Some people believe that Virginia Tech or Miami could be the next team to join the powerful SEC.
Texas A&M benefits greatly from this move because it will now be the only Texas College in a BCS conference. It will get more publicity and that, in turn, will greatly improve its recruiting
class because more people will now be able to identify with the program and what it is about.
Consequently, the Big 12 is now in a major rut because this leaves the conference with more questions than answers. Its low membership is something that causes a deep concern for the conference directors.
Since its founding in 1996, the Big 12 has always had 12 schools in the conference but since last year, Colorado, Nebraska and now Texas A&M have left, citing “financial concerns” about the conference.
The Big 12 is in an unfathomable situation as of now and there looks to be no good news on the way.
I believe that the Big 12 can still be salvaged if the conference does some serious recruiting over the next couple of months. It needs to get smaller schools to join because the incentive of having a guaranteed BCS spot is very lucrative for the smaller schools that don’t usually get such an opportunity.
The potential universities that the Big 12 could recruit would be Boise State, Texas Christian University and Brigham Young University. These smaller schools have been known as the “BCS Busters” since they haven’t had a guaranteed slot in the BCS bowl games.
Any one of these would be a welcome addition to the struggling conference, bringing in new opportunities for the universities.
So with the latest move in college sports, one must wonder: When will the conference-hopping stop?
I feel that the conference switches will not end anytime soon because as long as there is money available, then cash-strapped universities will jockey for position in the mega conferences.