Texas A&M officially joined the Southestern Conference today, league officials announced on the SEC website.
In a statement, league officials said SEC presidents and chancellors acted unanimously to remove the conditional status from the school’s bid to join the league, effective July 1, 2012. The Aggies will be competing in the SEC for the 2012-13 school year.
A&M received a conditional bid from the SEC on Sept. 6, pending a waiver of legal claims by Baylor and other Big 12 moves associated with the move. In the interim, the Big 12 has taken steps to stabilize the league as a nine-member nucleus.
It is unclear this afternoon if Baylor and other Big 12 schools have waived their rights to legal claims or if the SEC simply decided to remove the conditional status from A&M’s invitation because of the likelihood of that happening.
Either way, the Aggies’ move is official, making the SEC a 13-team league for the 2012 football season.
A&M officials have scheduled a former news conference at 6 p.m. Monday in Kyle Field to address the school’s move to the SEC. Participants at the news conference will be SEC commissioner Mike Slive, A&M president R. Bowen Loftin and Florida president Brenie Machen, chairman of the SEC presidents and chancellors.
Dr. Bernie Machen, chairman of the SEC presidents and chancellors, issued a statement saying SEC administrators “are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family. The addition of Texas A&M … as the SEC’s 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions.”
A&M president R. Bowen Loften also issued a statement saying the SEC “provides Texas A&M the national visibility that our great university and our student-athletes deserve. We are excited to begin competition in the nation’s premier athletic conference. This is a 100-year decision that we have addressed carefully and methodically and I believe the Southeastern Conference gives the Aggies the best situation of any conference in the country.”
SEC commissioner Mike Slive added a statement as well, but it did not address the legal issue that led the SEC to issue a conditional invitation to A&M earlier this month. Instead, Slive said: “On behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans, I welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family. Texas A&M is a nationally-prominent institution on and off the field and a great fit for the SEC tradition of excellence _ athletically, academically and culturally.”
The A&M athletic program sponsors 20 sports and includes the reigning national champions in women’s basketball, women’s track and men’s track. A&M participates in every sport sponsored by the SEC except gymnastics. The SEC sponsors every sport currently sponsored by A&M except equestrian.
Attempts to reach A&M officials for additional comment have been unsuccessful.
_ Jimmy Burch