I spoke with a friend yesterday who is knowledgeable about the situation at Texas A&M, and here is what he had to say. 1. Perry was not involved in the A&M regents’ decision to leave the Big Twelve for the SEC. He was described to me as “not supportive” but neither did he try to stop it. 2. The impetus for A&M to take action was UT’s decision to establish the Longhorn network in partnership with ESPN. “The regents went nuts,” my source told me. They were looking for some way to make a statement. “Look at what they have done for their brand,” my source told me. 3. A&M decided to “look at everything.” They brought in consultants. The move to the SEC was the answer. It would bring national exposure for the next ten to fifteen years. A&M would be on national television almost every week. 4. Kyle Field will be torn down and rebuilt as a modern stadium, with a seating capacity of 90,000-plus. The only part of the current stadium that will be retained is the north end zone. 5. A&M is “very focused on playing Texas.” It is not clear whether Texas feels the same way. 6. UT will go independent. They have little choice in the matter. The Big Twelve does not have attractive options for expansion. No other conference will take UT because its network and its partnership with ESPN gives UT a huge advantage in the size of its athletic budget. Unless something goes awry, it is just a matter of time until A&M’s move to the SEC becomes official. As an SEC member, A&M will benefit from one of the most lucrative TV contracts in the country. Its days of meagre athletic budgets are over.
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