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Fort Worth, TX (Sports Network) - Texas A&M could be blazing a path out of the Big 12 and to the Southeastern Conference after all.
The school's potential departure was discussed during a conference call Saturday between the Big 12 board of directors, according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which quoted a league source as saying he "wouldn't be surprised" to see Texas A&M take steps to join the SEC soon.
A school source told the paper: "I'm not going to come out and say, 'No, it couldn't happen by the end of the week.'"
Of course, rumors have circulated that as many as four teams would be added to the SEC. But University of Florida president Bernie Machen, who is also the chair of that conference's presidents and chancellors, seemed to squash the rumors when he said August 14 that the league was happy with its current 12- team alignment.
At the time, Machen added that the SEC was aware "future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league."
According to the Star-Telegram report, the Texas A&M source said there were still "a lot of steps to go through" before a move could be made. Chief among them would be working out a deal with the Big 12 on the forfeiture of money to play in the SEC by 2012.
The report cited Big 12 bylaws that say making the sudden switch could cost Texas A&M more than $28 million unless another settlement is reached.
Texas A&M notified the Big 12 on Thursday that it was exploring options to join another conference, but would do so only in accordance with the conference's bylaws and with a promise that the school would support the Big 12's efforts to seek a new member.
"As I have indicated previously, we are working very deliberately to act in the best long-term interests of both Texas A&M and the state of Texas. This truly is a 100-year decision," Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said. "While we understand the desire of all parties to quickly reach a resolution, these are extremely complex issues that we are addressing methodically.
"Ultimately, we are seeking to generate greater visibility nationwide for Texas A&M and our championship-caliber student-athletes, as well as secure the necessary and stable financial resources to support our athletic and academic programs. As a public university, Texas A&M owes it to the state's taxpayers to maximize our assets and generate additional revenues both now and well into the future."
Talk of expansion in the SEC is nothing new. There were reports last summer as well that Texas A&M was courted by the top college football conference in the country.