Texas A&M's move to SEC held up by legal threat

By John Zenor

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Sept. 8 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

"You know how many households there are in Texas? 8.9 million," a person familiar with the situation has told AP previously, adding that the league had to listen when the Aggies came knocking. "Why would we want to hand that to the Pac 12 or any another conference?"

The person said it's a "business decision" for the SEC.

The Aggies will likely have to pay an exit fee for leaving the Big 12. It cost Nebraska $9.25 million and Colorado $6.9 million. But that shouldn't hold up the move, considering the SEC distributed a record $18.3 million in revenue to each of the 12 members this year.

With that kind of money — and possibly even more to be had — conference realignment across the country could be on the horizon.

"The landscape is changing," said Tennessee coach Derek Dooley. "It's that old saying: It's not about the money, it's about the amount."

The poaching of schools is already well under way.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long told the AP that his school had been contacted about joining the shrinking Big 12 — which has already lost Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12). Oklahoma president David Boren said last week that multiple conferences have expressed interest in the Sooners and he expects a decision within a few weeks.

Oklahoma State billionaire booster Boone Pickens also said he doesn't think the Big 12 will survive much longer and predicted the Cowboys will eventually join the Pac-12.

The speculation on the SEC swiftly changed from who might be a likely 14th team to will there be a 13th?

David Williams, Vanderbilt's vice chancellor for university affairs and athletics, thinks the SEC would be fine with only 13 — or 12.

"The Big 10 stayed at 11 for quite awhile," he said. "I think that our folks at the conference, they'll work all of this out; 12, 13, 14 whatever it is we'll be a happy family."

AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins, Kurt Voigt, Kristie Rieken, Teresa Walker, Beth Rucker and David Brandt contributed to this report.

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