Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin discussed a self-imposed deadline of Saturday to make a decision "in what direction" to take A&M with regards to its athletics conference future, according to a source in the A&M athletics department.
Loftin has been addressing Aggie Athletics employees over the course of this process to decide whether to stay in the Big 12 Conference, that source says. He recently informed them that he wanted to have a decision on that front Saturday in order to be able to move along from an issue that has taken a considerable amount of time for him and his staff to address.
Loftin's decision would not (and obviously did not) coincide with a public announcement, the source said.
School begins Monday. Football season for the Aggies kicks off the following Sunday against SMU.
Athletics department employees were also reportedly informed that they would have to be very strict with their respective budgets in the event that A&M departs the Big 12 because of a likely separation fee that the Aggies would have to pay the conference.
Nebraska and Colorado paid more than $9 million each to leave the Big 12. Nebraska left for the Big 10, while Colorado joined the Pac 10 (now the Pac 12). Each begins play in their respective new conferences this season.
Big 12 member presidents held a conference call Saturday. Loftin participated in a portion of it, A&M spokesperson Jason Cook told News 3 Sports. A report that A&M gave indications to the presidents that it would leave the Big 12 did not emanate from an A&M source, Cook said.
Both Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe and Cook confirmed that the conference was still crafting a response to A&M's letter stating they were exploring a move. Cook said that letter would dictate the Aggies' next move.
A&M's likely destination would be the Southeastern Conference were the SEC's presidents vote to invite the Aggies. A&M would become the conference's 13th member, its first in Texas. At their last meeting earlier this month, SEC leaders said they were fine with their current 12-team alignment, but added that they could revisit the issue in the future.
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