The opening paragraph of Wednesday's official press release from Texas A&M will tell you pretty much everything you need to know:
Texas A&M University today officially notified the Big 12 Conference that the institution will submit an application to join another athletic conference. Should this application be accepted, Texas A&M will end its membership in the Big 12 Conference effective June 30, 2012.The odds that the Aggies don't already know the outcome of their "application" to "another athletic conference": 47 billion to one. Texas A&M has officially left the Big 12, and the only thing truly remaining between the Aggies and the SEC is the Aggies' introductory press conference. The deal, as they say, is done.
A&M president R. Bowen Loftin:
"I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference ... We appreciate the Big 12's willingness to engage in a dialogue to end our relationship through a mutually agreeable settlement. We, too, desire that this process be as amicable and prompt as possible and result in a resolution of all outstanding issues, including mutual waivers by Texas A&M and the conference on behalf of all the remaining members."The main sticking point on that "mutually agreeable settlement" is expected to be the exit fee paid by the Aggies to the Big 12, a fee CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd reported Wednesday should fall somewhere between the $9.2 million paid by Nebraska to leave in 2010 and the $28 million owed according to the Big 12 bylaws.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe released a statement following Texas A&M's press release.
“Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin has notified the Conference of his decision to withdraw the university from the Big 12 effective June 30, 2012,” Beebe said. “The presidents and chancellors of the nine remaining member institutions are steadfast in their commitment to the Big 12. As previously stated, the Conference will move forward aggressively exploring its membership options.”
Whatever tiny, insignificant shreds of doubt might have existed about A&M's move to the SEC exist no more; in 2012, Texas A&M will be the 13th member of the Southeastern Conference.