Texas A&M University has officially withdrawn from the Big 12 college athletic conference.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 to a 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.
This will drop the Big 12 to only nine teams. Colorado and Nebraska left last year.