The developing likelihood that Texas A&M will move to the SEC began to look even more likely Friday afternoon with the news that the school's Board of Regents moved up a meeting originally scheduled for August 22 to Monday, August 15th. The meeting will come one day after the SEC presidents meet in what can only be described as the official measures to extend an invitation to the Aggies to join the conference.
It appears that the A&M Board of Regents re-scheduled the meeting to pre-empt a special hearing called by the Texas House Committee on Higher Education scheduled for Tuesday, August 16th to discuss the potential move by Texas A&M. While the legislature has no power to stop the move, it could exert some political pressure by threatening to withhold funding.
At this point, however, the momentum has taken on a life of its own and there's no turning back for the Aggies. Not that there seems to be any desire to do so, even after the Longhorns backed down from plans to air high school games on the Longhorn Network, a practice the NCAA ruled against anyway on Thursday. Texas AD Deloss Dodds also agreed to allow the league and opposing schools the right to keep Big 12 conference games off the network or receive additional financial compensation for appearances.
So let's be real here -- this isn't about the Longhorn Network. The appeal of playing in the premier football conference in the country certainly plays a major role, but given the Aggie psyche, this seems more about getting out of the shadow of Texas than anything else. Texas A&M wants to make the move because it can.
As for the future of the Big 12, Deloss Dodds told Kirk Bohls Friday afternoon that the league can survive with nine teams, but prefers 10. Adding another member in the state doesn't make financial sense and adds nothing to the league, so it's not clear what the options for a tenth team would be, but staying at nine teams would allow for a round-robing schedule, a greater slice of the monetary pie, and a return to four non-conference games.
For the rest of college football, a move to the SEC by Texas A&M by itself would not necessarily set off the next round of realignment, but it seems impracticable for the SEC to stay at 13 teams and that is what could result in four 16-team superconferences or a scenario in which Texas goes independent.
Finally, the potential move also puts into the question the future of the Texas-Texas A&M rivalry. With many Aggies still seeking to blame Texas for the move to the SEC, should the Longhorns continue to play A&M in football as a non-conference game? Considering that Dodds and the Texas administration have made good-faith attempts to keep the league together following the creation of the Longhorn Network, the Aggies seem intent on tearing it down as much as possible. Considering the whining coming from College Station all summer, does it make sense for Texas to still schedule A&M?