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Baylor Raised Issues Over Texas A&M Moving To SEC

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DALLAS (AP) – The Associated Press has obtained an email indicating that it was Baylor that raised the specter of legal action to stop Texas A&M from leaving the Big 12.

The email was sent late Tuesday by Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe to Mike Slive, his counterpart at the SEC.

It says the Southeastern Conference will need to ask each Big 12 school to waive their legal rights to clear the way for Texas A&M to join the SEC.

`Dear Mike:

You have notified me that the SEC is willing to accept the application of Texas A&M to become a member of the SEC, provided that the Big 12 member institutions individually waive any legal actions against the SEC for its decision. I recognize that this issue has been raised due to Baylor University’s indication that its governing board has not waived the university’s rights. As you know, the attached letter waived the right of the Big 12 Conference Inc. to take legal action against the SEC. Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton, chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors, has told me that he informed Texas A&M President Bowen Loftin that such action by the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors was not binding on the individual institutions’ governing boards. If you seek waivers by the individual institutions, you must receive them from those institutions directly. I regret any confusion on this issue.

Best regards, Dan’

Beebe had sent a letter to Slive on Sept. 2 saying that the Big 12 “and its members” would not go to court to sue the SEC or its 12 member schools over Texas A&M as long as the deal was secured by Thursday afternoon.

`This is to confirm our discussion yesterday during which I informed you that the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors unanimously authorized me to convey to you and their colleagues in the Southeastern Conference that the Big 12 and its members will not take any legal action for any possible claims against the SEC or its members relating to the departure of Texas A&M University from the Big 12 and the admission of Texas A&M into the SEC; provided, however, that such act by the SEC to admit Texas A&M is publicly confirmed by 5:00 p.m. (CDT) on September 8, 2011.

Such admission of Texas A&M will result in the withdrawal of Texas A&M from the Big 12 Conference effective June 30, 2012. We both agreed it is in the best interests of each of our conferences and our member institutions of higher education to waive any and all legal actions by either conference and its members resulting from admission of Texas A&M into the SEC, as long as such admission is confirmed publicly by September 8, 2011.

If any of your presidents and chancellors have concerns about this commitment of the Big 12 Conference, they may contact me or Brady Deaton, Big 12 Board of Director chairman and chancellor of the University of Missouri, Columbia.’

Beebe then sent Tuesday night’s email around the time that SEC presidents and chancellors were voting on an application from Texas A&M to join by next summer. Beebe told Slive, “I regret any confusion on this issue.”

Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin told the AP in an interview that Tuesday’s email was “really a violation of trust” on the part of Beebe.  Loftin provided a copy of the email to the AP.  He also gave a statement on the SEC vote:

 `We are certainly pleased with the action taken last night by the presidents and chancellors of the Southeastern Conference to unanimously accept Texas A&M as the league’s 13th member. However, this acceptance is conditional, and we are disappointed in the threats made by one of the Big 12 member institutions to coerce Texas A&M into staying in Big 12 Conference. These actions go against the commitment that was made by this university and the Big 12 on Sept. 2. We are working diligently to resolve any and all issues as outlined by the SEC.’

In a statement Wednesday, Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe says his league tried to accommodate a request from the SEC to ease the way for Texas A&M to join.

Beebe said the Big 12 board’s letter to the SEC last Friday waiving his conference’s rights to legal claims didn’t and couldn’t require individual member schools to do the same thing.

Since the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, Beebe says “several institutions may be severely affected” after counting on revenue streams from contracts approved unanimously by all Big 12 members, including Texas A&M.

He says some schools have millions of dollars of obligations based on those expected revenues.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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