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Loftin said he began discussing Texas A&M's interest in the SEC with Commissioner Mike Slive on July 21. A&M's departure would cast doubt on the future of the Big 12, and Loftin said he would consider the ramifications for the conference before doing anything.
"What we do, if anything, will be in the best interest of Texas A&M and the state of Texas," he said. "We're also very concerned about the members of the Big 12. We don't want the Big 12 to go away. We have no intention of doing anything that might precipitate that."
Another key for Texas A&M in negotiating with another conference would be continuing its more than 100-year-old football rivalry with Texas.
"That's a historic rivalry," he said. "We see no reason why it could not continue under a different conference arrangement if they chose to do so. We certainly want to make that part of any discussion we have with another conference."
Loftin said he would have to consider the financial consequences to leaving the Big 12, if Texas A&M wants to go somewhere else. The Big 12, including Texas A&M, agreed to a 13-year television deal with Fox Sports in April that is worth more than $1 billion. If the Aggies leave the conference, there is a chance the contract could be voided, which could lead to legal issues for Texas A&M and its new league.
Texas A&M also could be subject to buyout or exit fees if it bolts.
"I've read the bylaws of the Big 12 and they're confusing to some extent," Loftin said when asked about what costs could be associated with leaving. "So I think there's a lot of room to talk about what that might mean if we choose to explore that option. We have not yet begun that process yet. This is one of the steps we have to take. The issue is looking at the Iong-term and any short-term costs must be weighed against long-term costs and benefits."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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