A Word on the New Texas A&M-to-SEC Rumors

We discussed the Texas A&M-to-SEC rumors of last week during, well, last week, but Twitter brought us fresh new ones yesterday. As best as I can tell, they were started by our old buddy Scott Moore, though a Texas high school-focused feed broadcast it as well.

The new report is that the Texas A&M Board of Regents is meeting this Thursday to discuss a move to the SEC. It's almost certainly false.

The main reason why I say that is because of a report from the Houston Chronicle that describes this week's Board of Regents meeting. The discussion on the Big 12 conference is but one bullet point on a long agenda, and even that much is just about the Longhorn Network. The newspaper's source said it's entirely going to be informational in nature with school lawyers going over the school's two main concerns about the new ESPN-backed Texas channel.

The two points of contention are important. One is that the channel will broadcast Texas high school football games. The other is that the network will broadcast some number of Big 12 games in the future.

The first point is obviously about recruiting. You can bet that folks at Texas A&M, and probably others in the conference, have been looking into whether that violates NCAA rules. As private networks are a new thing, there's obviously no precedent here. However, the overarching concern is that Texas will gain undue recruiting benefits from showing off top prospects on its channel.

The second point is substantial as well. If you're not a Texas fan, you're not going to want to pay extra money to that school in order to get its network on your channel lineup. That's exactly what you'll have to do though if the Longhorn Network is broadcasting your favorite team's conference game against UT. Can you imagine an Auburn fan being fine with having to subscribe to the Crimson Tide Network to watch the Iron Bowl? Of course not. Texas A&M doesn't want its fans to have to be in that position, and I'm sure other schools in the Big 12 don't like that proposition either.

As long as the Longhorn Network broadcasts both high school and Big 12 games, there will be tension within the conference and angst at Texas A&M. In that light I can understand how someone would hear something like "Texas A&M Board of Regents to discuss Longhorn Network" and interpret it as a euphemism for "Texas A&M Board of Regents to discuss getting out of the Big 12."

However this time around, it appears that this meeting about the Longhorn Network is indeed just about the Longhorn Network. Texas A&M will not be voting to drop out of the Big 12 on Thursday. But as long as the Longhorn Network exists, we'll be hearing these rumors from time to time.

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