Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin sent a letter to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe on Wednesday morning informing Beebe of Texas A&M's desire to join another conference. If Texas A&M is accepted by the other conference (the SEC), then Texas A&M will officially withdraw from the Big 12. "After much thought and consideration, and pursuant to the action of the (Texas A&M University System) Board of Regents authorizing me to take action related to Texas A&M University's athletic conference alignment, I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference," Loftin wrote in the letter.
Texas A&M and the Big 12 have not yet come to terms on an exit fee. Last year, Nebraska needed three months to negotiate its exit fee from the Big 12. The parties agreed that the conference would withhold $9.25 million in shared revenue as a penalty. When the Big 12 reformed as a 10-school league, the members agreed on stiffer exit penalties. The desired penalty could come close to $30 million, but after negotiations, Texas A&M could wind up losing about half that amount.
To join the SEC, Texas A&M first must apply to the league. Then the school would need nine of the 12 SEC presidents to vote to extend an invitation. After that, Texas A&M would have to pay up -- but not as much as the Big 12 will want. "Our bylaws are very simple," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in June 2010. "We have $50-a-year dues. Some of our institutions are in arrears."