Live Blog of the Regents' Meeting
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin now has the authority to negotiate a move from the Big 12 Conference to another league if he and the university so chooses.
The announcement came Monday after a vote by the A&M System Board of Regents, who held a telephonic conference call to rule on that issue and others.
Regents on the call made no statements other than to vote unanimously in favor of giving Loftin the power to make any moves, be it to the Southeastern Conference or somewhere else.
But it's an SEC jump that has been the talk of college football and Aggieland over the past few weeks as rumors spread of A&M discontent with its current situation in the Big 12, including with the University of Texas' Longhorn Network venture with ESPN.
Loftin categorized Monday's vote to give him power as just a step in a long process.
"We've made no decision, again, about terminating our relationship with the Big 12," Loftin said following the meeting. "This is all about what's best for Texas A&M."
Loftin confirmed off and on talks with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive began after the July 21 A&M System Regents meeting, but that he expected nothing to come of Sunday's meeting of that conference's presidents. Despite rumors of a potential invite for A&M to the SEC, that Sunday meeting of that conference's presidents and chancellors only produced a statement stating they were fine with 12 teams for now, but could expand in the future.
The A&M president also discussed the Big 12's recent upheaval and turmoil, and said other conferences certainly had stability going for them.
"We look at anything we might do -- remaining in the Big 12, changing conferences, anything we might do -- as a very long-term prospect," Loftin said.
As for whether there's a timeline to make a move, Loftin's answer was straight and to the point: "Not for me."
A Tuesday meeting of the Texas House's Committee on Higher Education that was called last week has now been postponed indefinitely. Loftin was scheduled to attend that meeting until Rep. Dan Branch called it off as the A&M board met Monday.
"What we do, if anything, will be in the best interest of Texas A&M and the State of Texas," Loftin said. "We also are very concerned about members of the Big 12. We don't want the Big 12 to go away. We have no intention of doing anything that might precipitate that. The Big 12 is a strong conference."