Ex-A&M prez: ‘Settlement’ might nix enlargement

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If Texas and Oklahoma be a part of the SEC, it will break a long-standing “gents’s settlement” between SEC faculties that offers convention members “absolute veto energy” over the addition of one other college from their state, in keeping with a former Texas A&M official.R. Bowen Loftin, who helped steer the Aggies into the SEC in 2011 whereas serving as A&M’s president, stated the oft-discussed unwritten rule was a “particular dialog” throughout enlargement talks in 2010-11 when he was concerned. Loftin additionally served as chancellor at Missouri from 2014-15 after the Tigers made the transfer to the SEC.”There’s this understanding among the many membership — at the very least it was 10 years in the past — that you do not admit a faculty from the identical state as a member college until that member college’s OK with it,” Loftin informed ESPN.com on Thursday. “We talked about it sometimes amongst ourselves, that this was the way in which it was going to be, that if we had one other college in Texas desirous to enter the SEC, Texas A&M would have veto energy.”Loftin stated the discussions occurred whereas the late Mike Slive was commissioner. Loftin, who’s retired and not concerned within the discussions at A&M or Missouri, stated he believes that present commissioner Greg Sankey, who was Slive’s deputy earlier than taking on as commissioner in 2015, “has a very good long-range sense of the SEC.”An SEC spokesman stated the league had no touch upon Loftin’s feedback on Thursday.Three states — Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee — have two SEC faculties every, however these date to the formation of the convention. In 1990, the league added Arkansas and South Carolina in states that didn’t have one other SEC workforce.Loftin stated the settlement prevented enlargement dialogue involving groups like Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Miami, even when the league was concentrating on the ACC if 16-team superconferences got here to go within the final spherical of realignment.”We mentioned these particular prospects,” Loftin stated. “Florida State was by no means within the dialog, for apparent causes. It was clear that they might not be admittable until Florida wished them included, and who might think about that?”Loftin stated most enlargement dialogue centered on faculties like North Carolina, NC State, Virginia or Virginia Tech, all faculties in a state with no SEC members.”I can let you know that, throughout my time within the SEC from two totally different faculties, that was the understanding we had,” Loftin stated. “It was unwritten. There is no particular rule you’ll be able to level to. You may level to the bylaws, discuss having a three-quarters majority to confess a brand new college, which implies 4 faculties might cease it from occurring legally and formally. However past that, there was this understanding.”Loftin stated he and members of the A&M board of regents particularly mentioned Texas’ membership prospects throughout enlargement talks with Slive, who was commissioner on the time. Slive died in 2018.”I can recall a gathering with the commissioner and some of our regents that had been with me, [Texas] got here up within the dialog,” Loftin stated. “Mike assured us that they acquired what they wished in Texas A&M as a result of they acquired the Texas market, they usually acquired a faculty which was very appropriate with SEC faculties.”Present Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork stated Thursday that he shall be “diligent in our strategy to guard Texas A&M. We need to be the one SEC program within the state of Texas. There is a purpose why Texas A&M left the Massive 12 — to be standalone, to have our personal id.”The Aggies and Longhorns clearly do not have lots of love for one another over the previous 125 years or so, however notably since their breakup when A&M left the Massive 12.”They left,” former Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds informed the Each day Texan in 2013. “They’re those that determined to not play us. We get to determine after we play once more.”Loftin stated he’d be stunned if that was within the SEC.”There could be lots of anger on the a part of the Aggie group,” he stated. “It definitely is ironic — and that is a really delicate phrase for it — after the entire verbiage directed in opposition to us attempting to discourage us from [going to the SEC], after which beating on us after we did it, that basically is fascinating to have that college come again and say, ‘Oh, we need to be a part of you now.’And he discovered Texas’ curiosity to be an about-face, notably after discussing realignment prospects along with his counterpart in Austin, Texas president Invoice Powers, who died in 2019.”They’ve a really excessive opinion of themselves — which isn’t shocking — however not all the time justified. And that drives lots of pondering there,” Loftin stated. “Invoice Powers was very clear to me that they felt rather more akin to the faculties within the Massive Ten and on the West Coast. He was very dismissive of the SEC, as a result of he felt academically, it was an inferior convention. He is not round, I perceive that. However the match, culturally, of A&M and the SEC is excellent. The match of Texas isn’t. That is simply plain and easy.”Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz, a relative newcomer to league drama in his second yr because the Tigers’ head coach, joked Thursday at SEC media day concerning the rumored curiosity of Texas and Oklahoma.”We’re the perfect league in faculty soccer and everyone needs to play there, and now you have acquired two iconic manufacturers that need to be a part of too,” he stated. “It is an unique membership and never everyone will get in, so good luck. Particularly if A&M has something to do with it.”

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