(This post is a revision that includes corrections from a previous draft.) Regarding the situation with Texas A&M and the future of the Big Twelve Conference, I have spoken with persons familiar with the situation at Baylor, who prefer to remain anonymous. This is what I have learned. 1. The university started four weeks ago to determine its legal remedies if A&M decided to leave the Big Twelve for the SEC. Astonishingly, the Big XII had waived all of its rights in a letter to the SEC, although Baylor’s position, which seems correct to me, is that the Big Twelve cannot bind its member institutions. 2. If it is necessary to resort to litigation, one theory would be tortious interference with contract. 3. The Baylor board has taken the position, “We’re not going to waive our remedies.” 4. Baylor is talking to all member institutions of the Big Twelve. UT and Oklahoma say they want to continue in the conference. At least two other conference schools have said they will not waive their rights. 5. Not surprisingly, politicians have gotten involved, including (reportedly) a number of legislators and a few statewide officials, including David Dewhurst, who would like to leverage the controversy to get the University of Houston in the Big Twelve. 6. Baylor is counting on the public perception that the state, and the conference, will not want to lose 108 years of storied football history, at a time when the national media is decrying what is happening to intercollegiate athletics, not just with the A&M situation, but also with the scandals at the University of Miami and Ohio State. 7. As might be expected, there is finger-pointing going on between various institutions. 8. Baylor sees this as an Old Testament story, with themselves in the role of the little shepherd boy who stands up to the giant. 9. Baylor’s position is, “We have a right to rely on our partners. We signed a TV contract for twelve years. We haven’t gotten the first payment. A&M is leaving before the first ad was run. No one can fault us for not waiving our legal remedies until we find out what the damages are.”
Sign up for the Armadillo
Weekly dispatches from the middle of the road of Texas politics.