No one ever said that there would be unanimous praise for Texas to leave the Big 12. Now, things are going to be challenging for the Longhorns to leave in the coming months.
According to The Texas Tribune, a group of Texas lawmakers has filed a legislation Friday afternoon that would prohibit Texas public colleges and universities from switching their affiliations with collegiate athletic conferences without approval.
House Bill 298 — filed by Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock— has more than 30 co-authors but is effectively a symbolic move to express the lawmakers’ displeasure. The bill is unrelated to any of the topics placed on Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session agenda, which means it’s ineligible to be passed into law. - Texas Tribune
Abbott, a Texas alumnus, added the football legislation to the special session call on Thursday following the Houston Chronicle's report of the two schools leaving the Big 12. Burrows, an alum of Texas Tech, released a statement about how public universities in the state help factor in the economic development, tourism, and overall prominence of the state and specific regions.
“A decision to switch to a different athletic conference affects the opportunity and stability of our publicly-funded universities across the state and must be fully vetted in the most transparent and comprehensive manner possible,” Burrow said.
Two other lawmakers in Jeff Leach, a Baylor alum, also signed the bill presented by Burrows. According to the tribune, Sens. Brian Birdwell, a Lamar University alumnus; Lois Kolkhorst, a former Texas Christian University athlete; and Charles Perry, a Texas Tech graduate, will also file a companion registration that will be presented to the Senate.
“The exceptionalism of the great state of Texas must not be left in the hands of a few but is a responsibility to be shared by all,” Burrows said in his statement.
The potential factor of Oklahoma and Texas leaving the conference could have ramifications on other schools in the state. To bring in the most money among Big 12 teams, the departure likely puts serious implications on the conference's future.
This would affect programs such as TCU, Texas Tech, and Baylor, all of whom would be required to find new conferences should the Big 12 cease operations.
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“The effects could be devastating,” Leach said of the situation. “Such important decisions must not be made by a select few behind closed doors, nor should they be unduly impacted by out-of-state interests who have little care or concern for the people of Texas.”
A team leaving the Big 12 has happened before on multiple occasions. In 2010, Colorado left for the Pac 12 and Nebraska left for the Big10. The following season, both Texas A&M and Missouri left for the SEC.
Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork told reporters in Hoover, Ala. at SEC media days that the Aggies’ stance is clear: They want to be the only program from the SEC in the state of Texas.
“A&M is a flagship university, and with the size and scale of our place, we should have our own stand-alone identity in our own conference,” Bjork said.
Should 11 teams in the SEC approve the move, the conference would expand to 16 total programs.
AllAggies.com will continue to keep you up to date with everything happening surrounding the potential legislation.
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