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“The chancellors and presidents of the Big 12 are committed to keeping our conference competitively and academically strong,” said Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton, who serves as the chairman of the Big 12 board of directors. “We have a process in place that enables us to move aggressively regarding the possible expansion of the conference and to assure our members and student-athletes that we will take advantage of the most productive opportunities in the best interests of all.”

The SEC said earlier this month it was happy with its current membership but left the door open to expansion, and the Aggies certainly wouldn’t have made this move if they didn’t believe they could eventually join the conference. The Aggies would need the votes of nine of the 12 presidents from the member schools for the SEC to allow them into the league.

The Big 12 agreed to a 13-year television deal with Fox Sports in April worth more than $1 billion, a contract that technically could be voided with Texas A&M’s departure and lead to legal issues for the Aggies.

A person familiar with that TV deal told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the league has indications from the network that if a suitable replacement can be found that “they will be fine and keep the contract as is.” The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because the details are not supposed to be public, also said that the contract could remain in force at a discounted rate even if the Big 12 had only its remaining nine teams.

The Aggies will also likely face an exit fee for leaving the Big 12, although it’s unclear how much that could be. Nebraska paid $9.25 million and Colorado paid $6.9 million.

Texas state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, said she had no plans to call for a public hearing on the Aggies’ decision to leave. Zaffirini, who graduated from Texas, said she would be disappointed if the two schools end their football rivalry.


AP Sports Writers Lynn DeBruin, Chris Duncan, Stephen Hawkins, Jim Vertuno and John Zenor contributed to this report.


Kristie Rieken can be reached at