COLUMBIA — Missouri Athletics Director Mike Alden on Saturday denied reports about a potential move for the school from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference, saying he had not any contact with the SEC regarding expansion.
Amid speculation about Texas A&M’s departure from the Big 12 for the SEC, ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb reported Saturday morning that a high ranking source at Texas A&M claimed Clemson, Florida State and Missouri were likely to follow the Aggies.
REPORT FROM BIG 12 CONFERENCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
IRVING, TX -- The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors conducted a teleconference meeting today to discuss the future of the Conference given recent developments regarding Texas A&M University. 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 Board noted that Texas A&M expressed concerns about institutional networks and that the athletics directors worked together and took actions, which the Board has approved, to adequately address those concerns. The other nine members reaffirmed their long term, unconditional and unequivocal commitments made to each other and the Conference last summer. Although the Board hopes Texas A&M remains in the Conference, the Board is prepared to aggressively move forward to explore expansion opportunities. In doing so, the Board recognizes the strength of the Big 12 Conference national brand and the opportunity to capitalize on it.
“No, no, no, no, there’s not truth to that,” Alden said during Saturday morning’s football scrimmage. “Our priority is the Big 12.”
Alden did not confirm or deny anything related to Texas A&M’s potential departure, only saying that the Big 12 athletic directors were scheduled for a conference call at 3 p.m. Saturday with commissioner Dan Beebe.
After meeting with the ADs, Beebe held another teleconference with the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors, which released a statement Saturday night saying the group "strongly conveyed to Texas A&M its unanimous desire that it remain a Big 12 member."
The statement also included that the rest of the Big 12 members "reaffirmed their long term, unconditional and unequivocal commitments made to each other and the Conference last summer," but that if Texas A&M were to leave, "the Board is prepared to aggressively move forward to explore expansion opportunities."
The conference unrest comes just months after the league negotiated a 13-year television contract with Fox that is reported to be worth over $1 billion. It is unclear at this time whether that contract would become void if Texas A&M left the conference.
“It’s frustrating because we’ve got a great league,” Alden said Saturday morning. “It’s frustrating and distracting.”