Big 12 Commissioner Releases Statement Following Legal Confusion
COLUMBIA - On Wednesday the Big 12's board of directors met via conference call to discuss the future of the Big 12 following the Southeastern Conference's unanimous decision to accept Texas A&M. Even with the vote, the SEC will not make the official announcement of the 13th school until all Big 12 schools have waived the right to sue.
According to ESPN some confusion arose from a letter that Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe sent to SEC commissioner Mike Slive on September 2, in which Beebe stated that the Big 12's board of directors, not the individual schools, wouldn't pursue litigation. On Wednesday evening, Beebe released the following statement:
"This is the first time to my knowledge that a conference has been requested to waive any legal claims toward another conference for any damages suffered with a membership change. The Big 12 Conference was asked by Texas A&M University and the Southeastern Conference to waive any such claim to help facilitate Texas A&M's departure from the Conference without any consideration to the Big 12. Although they were not obligated to do so, the Big 12 Board of Directors decided to accommodate that request as it relates to The Big 12 Conference, Inc., which is reflected in the September 2 letter sent to SEC commissioner Mike Slive. However, the waiver did not and could not bind the individual member institutions' governing boards to waive institutional rights. If the departure of Texas A&M results in significant changes in the Big 12 membership, several institutions may be severely affected after counting on revenue streams from contracts that were approved unanimously by our members, including Texas A&M. In some cases, members reasonably relied on such approval to embark on obligations that will cost millions of dollars."
ESPN also claims that Oklahoma is the only school who would waive their right to litigation at this time.
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin told the Associated Press this afternoon, "I felt that was really a violation of trust right there. We took this letter very seriously. We asked for such a statement. They gave it to us freely. It says here unanimous vote was taken and yet when we look at Beebe's letter last night it says: 'No we didn't really mean that,' and I find that to be rather difficult to digest. We are being held hostage right now. Essentially, we're being told that you must stay here against your will and we think that really flies in the face of what makes us Americans for example and makes us free people."