HOUSTON -- Texas A&M dealt a blow to the Big 12 Conference on Wednesday, saying it plans to leave by July 2012 if it is accepted by the SEC or another league.
The move, which had been expected, may set off another round of conference realignment in college sports. The Aggies have made it clear they want to join the 12-member Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 said again after the announcement that it will move swiftly to find at least one replacement for the Aggies.
University President R. Bowen Loftin notified the Big 12 in a letter and said departing the league "is in the best interest of Texas A&M." He said he hopes the move can be amicable and presumably hopes to negotiate a reasonable exit fee.
Texas A&M, which has been in the Big 12 since its founding in 1996, said it will submit an application to join another, unspecified conference. If it is accepted, Texas A&M will leave the Big 12, effective June 30, 2012.