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August 29, 2011Sources close to Texas A&M tell Orangebloods.com the Aggies will announce they are formally withdrawing from the Big 12 on Tuesday, setting up their application for membership to the Southeastern Conference.
The sources said Texas A&M has spent the past few days trying to iron out what the Aggies' exit from the Big 12 will cost.
The full exit fee penalty would be between $28 million and $31 million, according to Big 12 sources. But the Big 12 could withhold A&M's revenue for the 2011-12 academic year, which would total roughly $18 million.
Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin was on a conference call with Big 12 presidents on Saturday to discuss the issue. A&M sources say the Aggies will do whatever they can to help the Big 12 find a replacement to help avoid any damage financially to the conference.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe sent a letter to Loftin on Monday that basically said the Big 12 won't sue A&M if the Aggies also agree to refrain from suing the Big 12 to get out of exit fees.
According to sources, the Big 12 plans to simply withhold A&M's revenue for the rest of the 2011-12, totaling about $18 million.
In a related development, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told reporters the Irish are more committed than ever to being an independent in football, quashing any potential of the Irish joining the Big 12 in the immediate future.
Big 12 sources say if Notre Dame is off the table, then there's probably no immediate chance of adding Pittsburgh, another school that had been discussed by Big 12 presidents on their conference call Saturday after Loftin got off the teleconference.
One Big 12 administrator said there continues to be interest in gauging Arkansas' potential interest in joining the Big 12 - in what would essentially be a trade between the two leagues - and that BYU remains a potential target.
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