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Surprise: A&M wants lower exit fees if they leave Big 12

Officially, Texas A&M watch 2011 is still ongoing, but as far as we -- and practically everybody else in the business of college football -- are concerned, the Aggies have taken the first step toward leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC.

Now, it appears the move is far more a question of “when” than it is a question of “if”. A Big 12 official told the AP over the weekend that a move by A&M to the SEC could come as early as this week, with Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News noting that A&M’s exit fees were the last major logistical hurdle.

It’s previously been reported that the Aggies could be forced to pay over $30 million in exit fees; we’ve been told that number is highly inflated and likely not a realistic payout. According to sources, Kirk Bohls of the Austin-American Statesman tweets that A&M would like to get outta Dodge with a buyout somewhere in the vicinity of $10-$15 million, although the Big 12 likely still wants something closer to the aforementioned $30 million mark.

Whatever the number, the Big 12’s bylaws state that if A&M were to leave for the SEC by 2012, they would have to relinquish at least 90 percent of their conference revenue.

How all of this will be negotiated in the coming weeks -- or months -- will be an interesting area to watch, as money always complicates matters.

Assuming, of course, that A&M leaves the Big 12.