Texas A&M-to-the-SEC talks gets political; possibly more concrete?
Yesterday, we noted that the Texas A&M-to-the-SEC talks could be put to bed for the immediate future.
What we forgot to mention is that the immediate future only extends to the next 24 hours. After that, it’s fair game.
So it’s back to the rumors and speculation that A&M could, at any given moment, pick up their bags and head to SEC. While it should be pointed out that this is quickly extending into a tiring case of a boy who cried “wolf”, there is one little piece of information that makes the idea of A&M leaving the Big 12 a bit more concrete.
Speaking with the Dallas Morning News today, Texas Gov. Rick Perry -- a Texas A&M alum -- implied that the conference shifting rumors could be a little bit more than an Aggie fan’s fantasy.
“I’ll be real honest with you. I just read about it the same time as y’all did. ... As far as I know, conversations are being had. That’s frankly all I know. I just refer you to the university and the decision makers over there.”
The statement itself is nothing spectacular; we’ve been told that A&M officials and those from the SEC have been in occasional contact since June of last year. Additionally, “conversations being had” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re between A&M and the SEC.
But the fact that Perry is at least in the know is what’s important here. College athletics have a very strong political presence, and state figureheads can have a say in which school lands in which conference (i.e. Virginia Tech to the ACC in 2003-04).
And, perhaps most importantly of all, Perry could/would/does have a say in which direction A&M were to go if the Aggies get a little ring-a-ding-ding from Mike Slive.
In response to Perry’s comments, A&M released this cryptic, yet revealing, statement:
“President [R. Bowen] Loftin is committed to doing what is best for Texas A&M not only now, but also into the future. We continue to have wide-ranging conversations regarding all aspects of the university, including both academics and athletics.”
For what it’s worth, Cecil Hurt of TideSports.com offered this tweet which will be sure to get more than a few people going all “grassy knoll” on the college football world:
Attention Conspiracy Theorists: Texas Gov. Rick Perry is scheduled to be in Birmingham -- where the SEC Office is located -- on Friday.
To quote rock icons Led Zeppelin, “The Song Remains The Same.” A&M would want to pack their bags for the SEC in a nanosecond if they got the call from Slive (this is contrary to my previous belief they wouldn’t; a man can change his mind, right?). But the one hurdle for the Aggies to finally get out of the shadow of their big in-state brother is a familiar one:
They need to get the formal invite.