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Will Baylor's threat of legal action be enough to keep the Big 12 together?
In an attempt to save the Big 12 from crumbling, Baylor is considering legal options against Texas A&M and the SEC. This twist is just the latest in a bizarre saga involving the Big 12, especially after Nebraska and Colorado left the conference after the 2010 season.
While this could be nothing more than a temporary holdup for Texas A&M’s entrance into the SEC, Baylor’s desire to keep the Big 12 together has created a legal hurdle that must be cleared.
However, the latest developments in Waco have put any conference realignment on hold – at least temporarily.
The SEC does not want to be sued or be viewed as a conference killer, which is why Texas A&M has taken the slow, but necessary steps to withdraw from the conference.
Before Baylor’s threat to pursue legal action, the Aggies were accepted as the 13th member of the SEC on Tuesday night and are slated to join in time for the 2012 season.
What is behind this decision? When you take a look at the landscape of college football and the Big 12, the situation could get scary for Baylor.
The Bears want to keep the Big 12 together and by preventing the Aggies from leaving, hope to get a shot at reconciling the differences in the conference.
Texas A&M isn’t the only team eyeing a possible move to another conference. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are reportedly very interested in joining the Pac-12. Texas and Texas Tech have also been rumored to head west if Oklahoma and Oklahoma State also make the transition. Also, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri are believed to be targets of any potential Big East expansion.
Considering the potential dominoes that could fall in conference realignment if Texas A&M joins the SEC, Baylor is simply trying to protect its own interests.
Think about it this way, if the Big 12 falls apart, the Bears could end up in Conference, USA or the Mountain West. Going from a BCS conference to a Non-AQ setup is not what Baylor has in mind.
When taking a look at the situation unfolding in the Big 12 and the potential for 16-team super conferences to form, it’s hard to blame Baylor’s stance. Sure, this is a nuisance or a messy situation for Texas A&M and the rest of the schools in the Big 12, but the Bears – just like the Aggies with their interest in the SEC and Texas with the creation of the Longhorn Network – is looking out for its future.
Texas A&M can’t be blamed for choosing the SEC if it feels its best for the long-term future of the program. On that same path, Baylor can’t be blamed for at least trying to reconcile the Big 12.
What happens next?
Texas A&M was all set to have an announcement for its acceptance into the SEC on Wednesday. However, those plans are on hold until this can be sorted out.
Even though Baylor’s hail mary attempt has worked for now, there’s no guarantee this prevents any switch in conferences.
Texas A&M still wants out of the Big 12. And the SEC still wants Texas A&M.
Sure, the Big 12 could be fixed, but there’s been a lot of damage sustained over the last month. Texas A&M is set on making its own path from Texas, especially with the Longhorn Network remaining a point of contention.
Assuming Texas A&M joins – the conference is expected to eventually add a 14th team. West Virginia, Missouri, North Carolina, NC State and Virginia Tech are believed to be on the SEC’s wish list.
For college football fans against the formation of super conferences and more realignment, the developments with Baylor was a victory.
Whether or not a threat of legal action will keep Texas A&M from leaving for the SEC remains to be seen.
Either way, the next couple of weeks are going to be very interesting in the Big 12, SEC, College Station and Waco.