Based on a report in today’s New York Times, a move by Texas A&M to the Southeastern Conference has a “30 to 40 percent” chance of being voted down when SEC administrators convene Sunday to discuss expansion.
The report quoted an unnamed, high-ranking SEC official with first-hand knowledge about a scheduled Sunday meeting at a secret location to discuss league expansion, including the option to add A&M.
At issue, said the SEC official, was the question of what to do with a 14th school to accompany A&M into the league.
“We realize if we do this we have to have the 14th,” the SEC official told the Times. “No name has been thrown out. This thing is much slower out of the chute than the media and the blogs have made it.”
The officials cited the 30 to 40 percent possibility of a vote against A&M.
A&M officials have scheduled a Monday regents meeting with the following item on the agenda: authorization for the school president to “take all actions relating to Texas A&M University’s athletic conference realignment.”
For the past 14 months, including conversations this week, some A&M officials have indicated they believed they had a standing offer to join the SEC.
But they acknowledged the final call would be up to SEC administrators.
Jason Cook, A&M’s vice-president of marketing and communications, said in an email that school president R. Bowen Loftin intends to withhold comment on possible conference realignment until a scheduled Monday news conference in College Station.
The scale of the news conference, Cook acknowledged, could be large or small “depending on what happens.”
Asked specifically about today’s report in the Times, Cook responded: “We will decline to comment on rumor and speculation.”
In other Big 12-related news, the league’s athletic directors are scheduled to take part in a conference call this afternoon with commissioner Dan Beebe to discuss league issues related to the possible departure of A&M.
In today’s report in the Times, the SEC official said Loftin approached Mike Slive, the SEC commissioner, three weeks ago and expressed regret about not joining the league last summer when A&M opted to remain in the Big 12.
After Loftin’s call, SEC officials asked A&M to figure out the legal possibilities of leaving the Big 12 based on existing signed contracts with the league and its TV partners. The SEC official said his league would be “very sensitive about being part of breaking a contract.”
Texas’ House Committee on Higher Education has scheduled a public hearing Tuesday in Austin to hear testimony about the A&M situation.
In response to the Tuesday meeting, A&M officials called a special regents meeting on Monday _ one day before the House hearing _ and placed the item about conference realignment on the agenda.
Follow Jimmy Burch on Twitter @Jimmy_Burch.
_ Jimmy Burch