Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Red Letter Day

August 15th promises to be a red letter day on a couple of different fronts. Tomorrow afternoon, the Board of Regents for Texas A&M will meet to authorize Aggie President R. Bowen Loftin to pursue a new conference for Texas A&M. But wait, didn't the SEC reject Texas A&M?  Hardly. People jumped on the first line of the SEC statement and didn't read the rest.
“The SEC Presidents and Chancellors met today and reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment."
I admit, the first time I read this, I thought this was a big "no" to A&M. Then I read it again. It's simply saying that "we're fine with 12". It says nothing about increasing membership to 13 or 14.
"We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league."
What's the definition of "future"? Well, tomorrow is the future.  In other words, we're open to adding institutions, as the situation evolves.  This is looking less and less like a "no".
"We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion."
If you aren't looking to expand, what do you you need "criteria" for? Or a "process associated with expansion"? The only reason you need a "process associated with expansion" is because you are looking hard at expansion.
"No action was taken with respect to any institution including Texas A&M.”
Wow...they actually named Texas A&M.  And note that they specifically said "No action was taken": that's definitely not a no.  It's not a yes, mind you. But it's anything but a no.

What does this mean? Simple. The SEC is proceeding cautiously for fear of lawsuits. They do not want their fingerprints on the first domino of the next round of college realignment.  Texas A&M will have to ask to join the SEC, and the SEC's announcement merely says that they are ready to talk to A&M. The condition for A&M is likely a decision to leave the Big XII first. And yes, look for A&M to look to Harvey Perlman for inspiration to lay the foundation to defend against the inevitable lawsuit from the Big XII. (Outkick the Coverage has a great read on the complications of this arrangement.) How much of this happens tomorrow, and how much of this happens once everything is finalized remains to be seen. My guess is much of the foundation needs to be set tomorrow, though.

Oh, and then tomorrow night, we'll finally learn whether Bubba Starling is going to be a Husker or a Royal. It's something that we probably won't hear about until late...maybe not until the next morning. I'm not quite as sold on Starling remaining in Lincoln as Steve Sipple seems to be (I recall him suggesting that it's a 30% chance he stays), but I don't assume that he's automatically gone either. The negotiations really start tomorrow night, and it comes down to how badly Starling wants to play for his hometown team.

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