Was it just a mere four months ago that questions were being raised about whether the “Southwest Classic” would even continue next season?
With the uncertainty of conference realignment swirling in mid-June, one rumor seemed close to being a done deal — Texas A&M would make the bold move to break away from its Big 12 brethren and join the Southeastern Conference.
“We have had extensive discussions with other conferences over the past two days,” A&M president R. Bowen Loftin said. “We continue to evaluate our options in a deliberate manner, as we work toward a decision that is in the best long-term interests of Texas A&M.”
While the Board of Regents in College Station ultimately decided to stay in a scaled-down Big 12, the debate over whether the “long-term interests of Texas A&M” were served goes on amongst the Aggie faithful.
In an ugly and very public spat at the end of July, A&M President Loftin instructed Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe — under the threat of legal action — that the school would expect all the money originally promised ($20 million annually) to stay in the conference. (Can you even imagine an SEC school shaking down Mike Slive like that?)
And just this week, when looking at the recently released Big 12 football schedule for 2011, the bloggers over at IAmThe12thMan.com were left wondering what could have been in the SEC:
“Dan Beebe & Co. can try to spin this all they want, contraction of the Big 12 is leaving us a weaker conference with less marketable and attractive games to play. The appeal of going to the SEC, just for intriguing matchups that will get the fanbase fired up alone, has never been stronger.”
But what happens if today’s Southwest Classic suddenly becomes tomorrow’s SEC conference matchup? Robbie Neiswanger dug into the details of the contract back in June:
One clause in the contract discusses unforeseen issues that could affect the series. Item 14 reads:
“In the event of fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, war, invasion, hostilities, rebellion, insurrection, confiscation by order of the government, military or public authority or prohibitory or governmental authority, including that of the Southeastern Conference, Big 12 Conference, or the National Collegiate Athletics Association, making it possible or impractical to play the game, both parties shall be relieved of any and all obligations of this agreement.”
Something tells us that fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, war, etc. is still a distinct possibility before this game’s initial 10-year contract is over.