published Sunday, August 14th, 2011

SEC says its sticking to 12 member schools for now

The Southeastern Conference said Sunday it’s sticking with its 12-school membership for now.

A statement from University of Florida President Bernie Machen, the chairman of the league’s presidents and chancellors committee, said the group met Sunday and “reaffirmed our satisfaction with the present 12 institutional alignment.”

Machen said no action was taken regarding Texas A&M or any other schools.

However, Machen didn’t close the door on future growth.

“We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league. We discussed criteria and process associated with expansion,” Machen said in the statement.

The Aggies are reportedly seeking to leave the Big 12. The Texas A&M System board of regents has a meeting slated for Monday that includes an agenda item about conference alignment.

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.

Texas 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.

Branch had said it would be “inappropriate” for Texas A&M to switch conferences before the hearing.

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