Big 12 Realignment: What a day! Aggies Get a Lesson in Contract LawSeptember 7, 2011 by: admin
R. Bowen Loftin – A&M President – June 14th, 2010
“Texas A&M is a proud member of the Big 12 Conference and will continue to be affiliated with the conference in the future. As Athletics Director Bill Byrne and I have stated on numerous occasions, our hope and desire was for the Big 12 to continue. We are committed to the Big 12 and its success today and into the future.”
Balance that against the following statements from our honorable President 9/7/11 in the Baylor Proud alumni communication:
“As always, Baylor officials are working hard with the university’s best interests in mind. It’s important that Baylor remain on the national stage, so that people nationwide get to learn about BU and all that it has to offer — as they did with the big win over TCU Friday, and the men’s basketball team’s Elite Eight run, and the women’s basketball national championship, and … well, you get the idea.
But there’s something bigger than just Baylor’s interests at stake here. This is about doing the right thing. There are real costs when universities begin to break commitments and contracts (beyond simply setting a bad example for the young minds on campus) — up to and including anarchy in the world of college athletics.
Baylor is standing up for itself and for the integrity of college athletics, and people are starting to take notice.”
A&M seems to be the only ones saying the Big 12 “sucks”, yet there are 6 football teams, what this apparently is only and all about, in the top 25, including Baylor. That happens to be the same number of top 25 teams as the SEC.
Make no mistake about it, for most Baylor fans, the only thing better than Lubbock in the rear view mirror is Aggie in the rear view mirror. I’ve always enjoyed the trips to College Station for games, especially basketball the last decade. The Baylor section has just grown and grown. No one cries more when they lose to Baylor than A&M, which has happened more and more frequently the last few years in most all sports. We win in football this year, and the record the last 7 years, including the time prior to when Baylor committed financially to football (2007) stands at good guys 3, bad guys 4. That’s better than their record against their only admitted rival, UT.
So, by now, unless you are sans internet, you know what’s transpired today. The Big 12 threw down the hammer on A&M fleeing to the SEC for untold riches and fame without honoring their contract. Baylor stood tall and proud and did exactly what each Big 12 institution had the right to do, and all agreed they could do, I might add, by refusing to sign a waiver stating they would refuse to sue A&M or the SEC. This is written into any contract worth the paper it’s written on. If you’ve ever created one or signed one, you would certainly know that, especially when the divorce happens.
Baylor quickly was largely lambasted in the media this morning by the knee jerkers, but slowly more and more support came out as the morning wore on.
“Baylor is just doing what is in the best interest of Baylor”. Hmmmmm…That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Then came Iowa St., Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, and even maybe Texas Tech, but I’ve seen varying reports on that and it’s tough saying because they’ve been as quiet as anyone just hoping no one notices them sneak in the back door to wherever UT goes. These institutions all have a really good deal where they are. The only one that’s been whining about the LHN publicly is A&M. Is it unfair? Sure, but it also was known about when the 10 year, $1 BILLION dollar deal was struck a year ago and somehow all the sudden A&M figured it was time to leave.
Did they really think everyone would just help them pack their bags and watch the conference world crumble around them?
Lots of jobs and financial commitments have been made based on those contractual agreements forged, unanimously I might add, over a year ago.
This revenue model was unfair and just wasn’t going to work for A&M. Ironically, A&M has consistently voted for 15 years, along with OU, Nebraska and Texas to take more from the till than the other 8 schools in the original Big 12 and have produced next to nothing to show for it. Well, they did win 1 bowl game against TCU back in 2001 and won a conference title while still riding the coattails of their cheating years back when many current recruits were still wearing diapers. Aggies are the experts on which time frames matter in recording history, so we’re going to hold them to it. 1 bowl win in 16 years and counting.
So now, what happens next? A&M is being held “in purgatory” according to their president. For some reason he feels someone else is doing this to them when it’s the very contract they agreed to that wedded them to the conference for 10 years and boundless profits for the next decade to come. Instead of pointing the finger, he should be pointing the thumb, right at his chest with a giant scarlet A on it. An A for Aggie, but in this case Benedict Aggie. If I were a conference and looking to include A&M, I’d really be concerned if I could trust that a handshake or a signature meant what it used to mean.
Make no mistake about it. The SEC doesn’t want A&M. They want more access to Texas. If UT decided they wanted to go to the SEC tomorrow, A&M would be SOL. If OU somehow granted the SEC access to Texas and they wanted to go to the SEC, step aside A&M.
Teams that are 8 games over .500 in conference the last 16 years, finishing in the top 25 twice (including last season) and winning 1 bowl game are not hot commodities for their accomplishments. A quick aside, if I may, as this reminds me, one of Aggie’s biggest rally cries is how Baylor just sucks off the Big 12 teet, taking and never giving.
While we all now that that isn’t true, is there ever a more hypocritical statement coming from a program that 1) only exists at the bidding of the taxpayers and the whims of politicians and 2) had to borrow from said taxpayer funds just to fund their own athletics program the last 5 years (and at my last check, is still having trouble paying back the $14MM owed, claiming “the bad economy is slowing down our ability to re-pay the tax payers who fund the academic side of our house.”)
Pluck the plank from thy own eye Aggie.
Here’s what likely could have happened today. Baylor was possibly able to form a coalition with the media ascribed “have nots” whereby, they will each grant unconditional release to A&M for an iron-clad agreement that the remaining conference members remain in the Big 12 for the next decade as the contract stipulates. We then do everything we can with this new found solidarity and stability to lure in other schools (at least one and possibly 3).
Should all this come to pass, a decade from now, after Baylor has built a brand new $200MM stadium, re-branded it’s football program as a winner, with Heisman caliber athletes (if you want to know how fast this can be done, check out Oklahoma State 5 years ago) and has built on it’s conference and national championship prowess, with world class facilities and programs in most every other sport we compete in, it will be really tough for anyone to say Baylor doesn’t belong.
In my opinion, which everyone’s entitled to, those that say we don’t belong today also believe Ann Richards got us into the Big 12 (but somehow not Tech who Baylor beat 11 out of the 16 seasons prior to the decision to disband the SWC in 1994).
At some point, regional rivalries, commitment and honor to contracts and results on the field and academics matter. Apparently honor and commitment are not words the current incarnation of the leadership in College Station are familiar with. If nothing else, they should brush up a bit on their contract law knowledge.
I can’t wait for the made for ESPN movie about this. I propose they call it The Malfunction Junction Boys.
If nothing else, Aggies could screw up getting laid in a monkey whore house with a sack full of bananas.
Regardless, it is clear that in Starr vs Benedict Aggies, it is clear who’s playing with the Bic lighter and who’s busy rubbing two sticks together. Advantage Baylor.
I know I speak for many of us, am very proud of what my university did today along with their conference peers. As the only Texas institution endowed by the Republic of Texas, I am also very proud as a Texan.
This isn’t over yet. When the dust settles though, and if Baylor and the rest of the Big 12 remain together, I would like to start getting some straight answers on what exactly Baylor must do to be an obvious consideration as one of the 70 or so institutions that are in AQ conferences. That will have to be a story for another time though.