Mack Brown: I hope A&M rivalry stays
But Brown, speaking Sunday as indications continued to point to the Aggies’ imminent departure, said the Longhorns‘ athletic programs and the conference they play in would persevere.
“A lot of people are worried about that,” Brown said in a telephone interview with ESPN Radio. “Texas will be fine. I think the Big 12 will be fine regardless of what comes out of this, and we’ll move forward.”
A high-ranking source within Texas A&M confirmed to ESPN‘s Doug Gottlieb on Saturday the Aggies were intent on joining the Southeastern Conference. And they reportedly hope to begin play in the league starting as soon as 2012.
“Number one, it’s been a great rivalry with Texas and Texas A&M, so I hope it stays,” Brown said.
“I hope — I’m a traditionalist — and I hate to see situations with universities that have played for hundreds of years break up,” Brown added, with a subtle nod toward hyperbole. “And we’re having a lot of league discussions over the last few years.”
If Texas A&M departs, it could come at a cost to the school, as it did for Nebraska and Colorado, after they decided to leave the Big 12 last summer.
The conference initially sought $19.4 million from Nebraska and between $15 million and $20 million from Colorado in forfeited revenues. In settlements, Colorado agreed to pay $6.83 million and Nebraska $9.25 million.
The Big 12 paid out between $8.7 million and $15.4 million per school in revenues in 2008-09, according to IRS tax records examined by The Associated Press.
The Big 12 looked to be in trouble last year before Texas decided to stay, which made it much easier for Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State to remain in the league as well.
“I’m the guy who likes it like we’ve had it and hate to see that change,” Brown said. “But on the other side of that I trust Bill Powers, our president, and I trust (athletic director) DeLoss (Dodds).”
The Board of Directors for the Big 12 held a conference call Saturday to discuss Texas A&M’s plans.
“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. “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.”
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