COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- After weeks of rumors, the SEC officially announced Wednesday that it would be accepting Texas A&M for membership, when and if all legal hurdles tying the Aggies to the Big 12 were cleared.
In a statement released Wednesday morning, SEC spokesperson Bernie Machen stated that the conference had received a letter from the Big 12 Sept. 2 stating that TAMU was cleared to leave. However the conference was notified Tuesday that at least one Big 12 institution had withdrawn its previous consent and was considering legal action."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," Machen said in a press release. "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."
The SEC did not release the name of the school, but several news sources are reporting that Baylor University has not only pulled its consent, but has threatened legal action if Texas A&M leaves the Big 12.
Wednesday afternoon, the Des Moines Register reported that Iowa State University was also declining to waive its right to sue if Texas A&M if it bolted for the SEC.
Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com reports that the SEC is now requiring all nine remaining Big 12 schools stating that they would not sue the SEC if Texas A&M changes conferences. His sources say that many Big 12 schools would not sign the waiver.
In the original letter sent Sept. 2 by Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe to the SEC stated that the conference as a whole would not pursue legal action if the issues were resolved by 5 p.m. Sept. 8.
Beebe released the following statement on Wednesday:
"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."
Texas A&M had originally planned a celebration for Wednesday, paired with the announcement that it would be heading to the SEC, however the celebration has been postponed indefinitely until the situation can be resolved.