Texas A&M plans to leave Big 12 by July 2012

By Kristie Rieken

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 31 2011 9:23 a.m. MDT

Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin addresses members of state and national media in the A&M Board of Regents room in College Station Texas Monday, August 15, 2011. Loftin says A&M has no plans to switch conferences at this time, but A&M regents voted Monday to give Loftin permission to continue talks with SEC officials concerning future dealings between the two entities.

Associated Press

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HOUSTON — Texas A&M has told the Big 12 Conference it plans to leave the league by July 2012 if it is accepted by another conference.

The move, which had been expected, may set off another round of conference realignment in college sports. The Aggies have made it clear they want to join the 12-member Southeastern Conference.

University President R. Bowen Loftin notified the Big 12 in a letter and said it departing the Big 12 "is in the best interest of Texas A&M." He said he hopes the move can be amicable and presumably hopes to negotiate a reasonable exit fee.

Texas A&M had been in the Big 12 since its founding in 1996. Loftin says the school wants greater visibility nationwide as well as "the necessary and stable financial resources" need to support athletics.

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