- Associated Press - Saturday, August 13, 2011

Southeastern Conference presidents will meet Sunday to discuss Texas A&M’s admission to the league, The New York Times is reporting.

A person with knowledge of the situation confirms to The Associated Press that the meeting will be held in Atlanta. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting had not been publicly discussed.

The Times said all but one of the presidents will be at the SEC meeting, held the day before the Texas A&M System board of regents will meet. A special meeting is scheduled Monday that includes an agenda item about conference alignment.

The session comes amid reports that Texas A&M is leaving the Big 12 for the SEC.

The SEC is interested in A&M because the move “brings us into the Texas market,” another person familiar with the situation told the AP on Saturday. But the person added that “it’s not about us wanting or needing 14 teams, Texas A&M came to us.”

The person said the conference could not ignore the Aggies.

“If A&M is dead set on getting away from Texas, whether it be because of the Longhorn Network or if they have had enough for whatever reason, you have to listen,” the person said. “If you don’t, someone else will.”

“It’s a business decision.”

Meanwhile, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe and the conference’s Board of Directors discussed the future of the conference and Texas A&M’s possible departure during a teleconference Saturday.

“The board strongly conveyed to Texas A&M its unanimous desire that it remain a Big 12 member, and acknowledged its value to the conference,” the Big 12 said in a statement released Saturday night. “The other nine members reaffirmed their long term, unconditional and unequivocal commitments made to each other and the conference last summer.”

The conference’s statement said athletic directors took action approved by the board to adequately address concerns Texas A&M expressed about institutional networks.

If A&M does jump to the SEC and is put in the West Division, the person speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity said the conference will have to add a 14th team in the East. However, the person said though the “Texas A&M thing will be decided in the week or so, the 14th team has not been discussed.”

Texas A&M considered switching to the SEC last year before staying in the Big 12 after Nebraska and Colorado announced their departures. Now that the Aggies seem to be looking to move again, many are worried that it could jeopardize the future of the Big 12.

State Rep. Dan Branch, the chairman of the Texas House Committee on Higher Education, called a hearing before his committee for Tuesday with Big 12, SEC and Texas A&M officials. Texas A&M soon moved up a meeting of the board of regents from Aug. 22 to Monday that includes an agenda item about conference realignment.

According to media reports, several schools are being considered for that 14th slot, including Florida State and Clemson.

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