SEC won’t expand for now

Published 1:34 am Monday, August 15, 2011

The Associated Press

The Southeastern Conference is staying just as it is — for now.

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.”

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Machen said no action was taken regarding Texas A&M or any other schools. He did not, however, close the door on growth down the road.

“We recognize, however, that future conditions may make it advantageous to expand the number of institutions in the league,” Machen said.

The Aggies are reportedly looking to leave the Big 12. The Texas A&M System board of regents is to meet Monday, and among the items on the agenda is conference alignment.

A&M President R. Bowen Loftin said Sunday he did not participate in the SEC meeting Sunday. He did not plan to comment further about matters about to go before the regents.

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 conference call 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 statementw.

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.

The Aggies’ football team went about business as usual Sunday with a two-hour morning practice indoors.

Coach Mike Sherman has said that he’s not in the loop on developments involving the SEC. He was not available for comment after Sunday’s first workout, but said Saturday he and his team are concentrating solely on the Sept. 4 opener against SMU.

The school said athletic director Bill Byrne was traveling back from France and also was not available.