Texas A&M University has been portrayed as the big loser in the event Big 12 Conference members Texas and Oklahoma gain admission to the Southeastern Conference. The Aggies being the lone SEC member from the Lone Star State was widely viewed as a recruiting advantage over Texas, given the SEC's reputation as the most powerful football conference in the country. It was even thought that A&M might be the only SEC member among the current 14 to vote against expansion.
That seems unlikely now, after the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System met Wednesday and decided to instruct A&M president M. Katherine Banks to vote in favor of admitting Texas and Oklahoma into the SEC.
"The board concluded that this expansion would enhance the long-term value of the SEC to student-athletes and all of the institutions they represent — including Texas A&M," the regents stated in a release.
"Therefore The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Board directs Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks to vote in favor of extending formal invitations to the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas to join the conference in 2025 when the SEC presidents consider the matter."
League presidents are expected to meet today.
Once Texas and Oklahoma announced this week their intention to sever media rights ties with the Big 12, there was little doubt that the SEC would welcome both schools. Only 11 of 14 presidents need to vote in favor of their entry, and the final vote was always expected to be either 14-0 or 13-1.
A&M has no regrets about its own move to the SEC.
"The decision in 2011 to join the Southeastern Conference has strengthened the position of Texas A&M University as a national leader in college athletics," the release states.
"As college athletics go through the historic changes we are experiencing today, Texas A&M competes at the highest level with many of the top universities in the country — on the field, on the court, and in the classroom.
"As members of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, we are proud of the Texas A&M athletic department and its tremendous success over the past decade. We are proud to be the largest university in Texas and in the SEC. We are proud to have rock-solid financials, the best fan base in America and 550,000 former students who compete and succeed across the globe.
"We have the utmost confidence in Texas A&M President M. Katherine Banks and Athletic Director Ross Bjork to navigate discussions with our SEC conference partners."