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Texas A&M To Leave Big 12

Photo by jason tinder

Texas A&M University has officially withdrawn from the Big 12 college athletic conference. The university says it will apply to join another athletic conference, according toa statement on its website.

"After much thought and consideration, and pursuant to the action of the (Texas A&M University System) Board of Regents authorizing me to take action related to Texas A&M University's athletic conference alignment, I have determined it is in the best interest of Texas A&M to make application to join another athletic conference," President R. Bowen Loftin wrote to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe in the letter dated August 31, 2011.

Some observers believe Friday's launch of the Longhorn Network cable TV channel, a collaboration between UT and ESPN, played a major role in A&M's decision to jump ship.

“We can’t argue with the fact that the reason they are picking up their toys and leaving is the creation of the Longhorn Network, which, on paper, they believe gives Texas a competitive advantage,” said Mike Cramer, executive director of the UT’s Texas Program in Sports and Media.

Listen to KUT's Mose Buchele's interview with Cramer here.

There has been much speculation that Texas A&M would like to join the Southeastern Conference (SEC), although the SEC voted earlier this month not to extend an invitation to A&M immediately.

This will drop the Big 12 to only nine teams. Colorado and Nebraska left last year.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.