The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents surprised the college football community by recommending that president Dr. M. Katherine Banks support expanding the SEC to include Oklahoma and Texas in Thursday's conference vote.
However, it was not an unanimous decision. Mike Hernandez III was the sole regent to oppose the motion.
The board admitted in a statement that it had "concerns about the communication process" considering the matter; however, it "received the information it needed to properly consider the long-term ramifications of a possible expansion."
"The board concluded that this expansion would enhance the long-term value of the SEC to student athletes and all of the institutions they represent—including Texas A&M," the statement read. "...As developments unfold, the leadership at Texas A&M will continue to analyze our opportunities and make decisions based on what’s best for our flagship university."
On Monday, news broke that the Longhorns and Sooners, two of the founding members of the Big 12, would not be renewing their grant of rights agreement. This move allows the SEC to formally consider adding both programs to the conference, and a vote will occur Thursday.
The move comes after rumors surfaced on July 21 that the two programs had their eyes set on joining the SEC, but this was not the first time there were rumblings of a mass exodus from the Big 12. Texas and Oklahoma both nearly left the conference after the 2010 season, but the pair of programs stayed put as Missouri and Texas A&M left for the SEC.
If a move were to go through, that would give the SEC 16 members. The Longhorns and Sooners would need a 75% majority vote from the current 14 schools, and up until Wednesday's Texas A&M Board of Regents' meeting, the Aggies were the only ones in the conference to have publicly voiced its opposition.
The news about this motion comes after news broke that the Big 12 sent a cease and desist letter to ESPN, requesting that the network ends all actions that could harm the conference and its members. Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger obtained the document, where commissioner Bob Bowlsby claimed that the organization has taken actions to not only "harm" the league, but actions that "result in financial benefits for ESPN."
More College Football News:
- Where Does the Rest of the Big 12 Go From Here?
- Even in the SEC, Texas A&M Can't Escape the Longhorns
- Texas and Oklahoma's Inquiry Into SEC Stuns Conference Media Day
- Texas, Oklahoma and the Realignment Talk That Could Reshape College Sports
- Pac-12 Leaders Suggest Realignment Response as SEC Growth May Compromise CFP Expansion