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Big 12 Schools Rallying For Texas A&M To Stay

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Mike Sherman (center) and the Texas A&M Aggies could be on the brink of moving to the SEC. (AP Image) Mike Sherman (center) and the Texas A&M Aggies could be on the brink of moving to the SEC. (AP Image)

Corey DeMoss, News9.com

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – In the midst of the most recent conference realignment rumors, Big 12 directors reached out to a fellow school that could be poised to leave.

Texas A&M is inching closer to realigning to the Southeastern Conference, where it would hope to begin play in 2012.

SEC officials would still have to approve the move, and the conference would likely then need another member to keep its number of teams even.

The Big 12 board of directors held a teleconference on Saturday regarding the potential move.

The board released a statement saying the remaining nine schools expressed their desire for Texas A&M to remain in the Big 12 during the teleconference.

The remaining schools also reaffirmed their commitment to the conference and stated that they would aggressively move forward in pursuing potential expansion to the conference if the Aggies moved to the SEC.

The statement also noted that "Texas A&M expressed concerns about institutional networks and that the athletics directors worked together and took actions, which the Board has approved, to adequately address those concerns."

The University of Texas recently attempted to air high school games on its new Longhorn Network, but the NCAA recently ruled that no university-owned television station would be able to air high school games.

Reports first surfaced Thursday that the Aggies were leaning toward joining the SEC, but nothing had been declared by either the school or the conference. On Friday, both sides set up meetings that could bring them to an official agreement by Monday.

The Texas A&M board of regents will convene for a special meeting on Monday with an agenda item about conference realignment.

Meanwhile, another potential road block lies with the Texas legislature. On Tuesday, the Texas House Committee on Higher Education will discuss the realignment with Big 12, SEC and Texas A&M officials.

The Texas House of Representatives invited several key members to that meeting, including Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin and SEC commissioner Mike Slive. The goal of the meeting presumably was to address the potential departure of A&M before the school could handle the issue itself.

The Aggies apparently were not keen on that idea, because they moved up their original meeting by a week. Texas A&M now will have a board of regents meeting Monday, the day after the SEC holds its gathering.

MrSEC.com first reported that the SEC called a special conference-wide meeting that will be held Sunday. Presidents or chancellors from all 12 associated institutions will take part, either in person or by phone. It currently is not known whether the meeting will simply address conference expansion or if a vote will be taken on the issue.

If Texas A&M changes conferences, that will leave the Big 12 with only nine teams. But apparently Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe is not overly concerned.

According to CBSSports.com, Beebe told Texas A&M that the conference will survive without the Aggies and that Texas is the only school the Big 12 needs to remain intact. An A&M official said that the conference may just replace Texas A&M with Houston.

But Texas may not stick around in the Big 12 either. Orangebloods.com reported that athletic director DeLoss Dodds mentioned the idea of Texas becoming an independent and forming its own new conference alongside Notre Dame.

But everything will hinge on Texas A&M's decision, which cannot be made official until Monday at the earliest.

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