On Wednesday afternoon, Ross Bjork told Paul Finebaum that Texas A&M was proud to be the one program from the Lone Star State to be in the Southeastern Conference.
“The SEC has been a perfect fit for us,” Bjork said. “We want to maintain that same identity. Perhaps there’s a reason that Texas and Oklahoma are looking around – if that’s the case.
"We’re going to maintain that position, but we’re also going to make sure that we are a leader in college athletics and we’ll see what the future holds.”
Bjork now has a new message for both the Longhorns and Sooners should the deal become official: "We're ready."
Both Texas and Oklahoma could be joining the SEC as soon as the 2022 season. The two schools are expected to send a letter out to the Big 12 stating they will not re-sign their contract when their current deal is up in 2025.
Bjork, along with Texas A&M University president Kathy Banks, are now looking forward to the battles ahead with Texas, not just on the football field, but also in the classroom.
“We believe that throughout our time in the SEC, Texas A&M has become stronger than ever,” Bjork told the Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman Saturday. “We’re the largest university in Texas and in the SEC. We have 550,000 former students. We’re knocking on the door of the College Football Playoff, and our women’s basketball team is the reigning SEC champion. We’ve got so many Olympians. There are so many great things and strengths about our program."
Bates also stated in a letter released Saturday that the university is committed in keeping the standards set in the SEC for years to come, no matter who would join in years to come.
“Since 2011, we have been a proud member of the best athletic conference in history and we look forward to continued success in our SEC partnership for many years to come.”
Conference realignment is nothing new, primarily in the Big 12. In 2010, Nebraska departed for the Big 10 while Colorado joined the Pac 12. The following season, both A&M and Missouri left for the SEC.
Texas still is looking to prove they are "back" since their championship run in 2009. They look to have the right coach in former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. Last year with the Crimson Tide, Sark's offense averaged over 500 yards per game and scored an average of 48.5 points per outing.
If anything, Texas' yearly income is a reason enough to join the conference. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Longhorns are the highest-ranked in average revenue, recording roughly $164 million per season.
Oklahoma, the six-time defending Big 12 champions, also brings in an average revenue of $126.5 million per season, ranking sixth among programs.
Should the two schools join the conference, the SEC would have seven of the 10 most valuable programs in average revenue.
UT’s addition to the SEC would mean the Aggies and Longhorns would meet annually on the football field for the first time since 2011. All-time, Texas holds a 75-37-5 record against A&M. In the final 10 years, the Aggies went 3-7, including losing the final game on a kick from Justin Tucker.
“Ten years ago when we joined the SEC, it offered that culture that we wanted in every facet,” Bjork said. “Collaboration, equality, excellence on and off the field. The culture is what makes the SEC the best conference in college sports."
A&M's board of regents will meet at 5 p.m. Monday via teleconference to discuss “SEC issues." If and when the league elects to vote on bringing in two more schools, the conference will expand to 16 teams — the largest in college football.
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