It has been a week since Texas A&M regents empowered school President R. Bowen Loftin to negotiate on the school's behalf in regard to conference realignment, with a focus on the Southeastern Conference.
At the time, Loftin said he felt "no specific time pressure" to conclude a deal and -- a week later -- the school still has lawyers looking into the legal and financial ramifications of the move.
A&M administrators also will be monitoring today's meeting in Indianapolis, where representatives from multiple schools and networks -- including Texas and ESPN -- will huddle with NCAA officials to discuss what is permissible in regard to televising high school sports on networks run by schools or conferences.
What is next for A&M and the Big 12? Here is a three-pack of unsettled issues:
A&M wants to negotiate down its share of forfeited revenues that would accompany a move to the SEC by the 2012 football season. Under Big 12 bylaws, such a move could cost more than $28 million. But Nebraska surrendered only $9.25 million to leave the league last season, based on projected revenues of $19.37 million. A&M would like a comparable discount, and Loftin said "confusing" league bylaws leave "a lot of room" for interpretation.
SEC partner for Aggies?
A&M needs to apply for SEC membership, and administrators in that 12-member league must decide whether A&M would need an expansion partner, or partners, to compete in 2012.
Expanding the league would allow the SEC to renegotiate television contracts with CBS and ESPN. The timetable is up to the SEC, not A&M.
Any A&M hesitation about leaving the Big 12 may have disappeared Thursday, when an ESPN official confirmed plans to show high school football highlights on the Longhorn Network, its collaborative venture with Texas. ESPN contends that showing highlights would not be in violation of a recent NCAA ruling that its bylaws "prohibit youth programming on institutional and conference networks and broadcasts." ESPN counters that the NCAA statute applies only to live game telecasts, not news-related highlights. A&M officials have objected to showing high school content on LHN, claiming it gives Texas a competitive advantage, and reiterated those concerns Thursday. The NCAA will address the topic today.
Although most signs point toward A&M leaving the Big 12 once legal issues regarding TV contracts can be settled, Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton disagreed in a Sunday interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Deaton, also the Big 12 chairman of the board, said A&M officials "have not indicated they are going anywhere right now. They've been sharing concerns they've had with us, and we've been addressing them."
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Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760