John Calipari believes conference expansion – perhaps to his proposed super conferences – is inevitable. On Sunday, the idea of expansion took another official step.
Texas A&M, long reported to be moving from the Big 12, is officially headed to the Southeastern Conference. The SEC Presidents and Chancellors, acting unanimously, announced Sunday that Texas A&M will join the league effective July 1, 2012, with competition to begin in all sports for the 2012-13 academic year.
“The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” Dr. Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida said in a statement on the SEC’s official website. “The addition of Texas A&M University as the SEC’s 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions.”
The addition of Texas A&M increases the SEC’s membership to 13 institutions.
“On behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans, I welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement on the SEC’s website. “Texas A&M is a nationally-prominent institution on and off the field and a great fit for the SEC tradition of excellence — athletically, academically and culturally.”
The Aggies sponsor 20 varsity sports, one of which includes men’s basketball. UK is 2-1 all time against Texas A&M, but next year’s meeting will be the first time the schools have played each other since the 1979 meeting.
“On behalf of the coaches, administrators and student-athletes at the University of Kentucky, I would like to welcome the Texas A&M Aggies to the Southeastern Conference,” UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement. “Coming off its best year athletically in school history, Texas A&M adds a strong athletic program along with its academic prowess to the best league in the country. I look forward to competing against one of my mentors, Bill Byrne, for years to come.”
Details on how the SEC will schedule its games next year with an additional institution remain to be seen.
“I’d like to welcome Billy Kennedy and Texas A&M to the SEC,” Calipari said. ”Congrats to Commissioner Slive and our presidents on a great addition to our league.”
Last week, the Big East’s Syracuse and Pittsburgh officially accepted invitations to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.