The Big 12 could be losing two of its most profitable programs as both Texas and Oklahoma look to join the SEC. While it feels likely this is the end of the Big 12, there could be a way of stopping the conversation.
Four current lawmakers in the state of Texas — one each with ties to Baylor, TCU Texas Tech, and Texas A&M — met with Gov. Greg Abbott’s staff Thursday, following the news first reported by the Houston Chronicle. This news was first reported by the Texas Tribune.
The four lawmakers were Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, who chairs the influential House Appropriations Committee and attended Texas A&M; Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, who received his law degree and MBA from Texas Tech and chairs the powerful House Calendars Committee; Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, who chairs the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence and was a student body president at Baylor; and Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and a former TCU athlete. Kolkhorst declined comment and the other three lawmakers did not immediately respond to requests for comments Thursday evening. - Texas Tribune
Abbott, a Texas alumnus, and fan of the program could actually have a say in what happens next with the Longhorns, right?
Leach is coming up with a plan to make a "legislation requiring legislative approval for UT to bolt the BIG XII" according to his Twitter account. Burrows also has let it be known he disapproves of the move as well.
Texas A&M has been vocal about the decision to consider the two programs joining the Southeastern Conference. Earlier this week, Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork told SEC Network's Paul Finebaum that the school is not in favor of playing Texas once again on a yearly basis.
"We want to be the only SEC program in the state of Texas," Bjork said. "There's a reason why Texas A&M left the Big 12 -- to be standalone, to have our own identity."
Bjork also said he has not spoken with fellow SEC athletic directors about expanding the conference. According to Kirk Bohls of The Austin American Statesman, A&M officials were left out of the talks with the SEC programs.
Per the SEC bylaws regarding conference membership, "a vote of at least three-fourths of the members is required to extend an invitation for membership." Following the expansion back in 2012 with Missouri and Texas A&M, that would require at least 11 of 14 votes.
Hey Texas A&M, can we count on your vote at the polls?
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The state of Texas has been adamant about keeping as many programs together for decades. Prior to its dissolvement in 1996, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Rice, Southern Methodist University, and Houston were members of the Southwestern Conference.
Other members included Oklahoma (1915–1919), Oklahoma State (1915-1925), and Arkansas (1915-1991).
There's also the current status of what to do with the other Big 12 teams. Currently, the conference has not been at 12 members since A&M and Missouri's departure. Before the additions of West Virginia and TCU in 2012, the conference also features Nebraska and Colorado.
The Cornhuskers and Buffaloes left for the Big 10 and Pac 12, respectively in 2010.
Nothing is set in stone on either side, but expansion to the SEC for Texas and Oklahoma could be something that never exists if this is taken to the capital.
CONTINUE READING: Texas and Oklahoma Reportedly Skip Big 12 Conference Call
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