Texas A&M joining the SEC continues to become more complicated as five Big 12 schools have joined Baylor in its fight to preserve the conference, according to reports.
Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, and Texas Tech have joined Baylor in retaining their rights to sue, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.
Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com -- the star of conference realignment news in 2010 -- reported that every team but Oklahoma has retained its right to sue, but that only Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, and Kansas State would actually consider exercising that right.
All of this activity comes after the SEC voted to accept Texas A&M as its 13th school on Tuesday, but said that before it could officially accept the program, all Big 12 schools had to agree to not sue the conference for accepting A&M.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe had previously assured SEC commissioner Mike Slive that no Big 12 team would sue the SEC if it accepted Texas A&M, according to a letter dated Sept. 2 released to the media on Wednesday.
But as Texas A&M's move started looking more and more realistic, something changed -- perhaps desperation -- and now a movement appears in place to slow down this process.
A lot of what is happening is just rumors and conjecture, though Iowa State has publicly admitted to retaining its right to sue. After Baylor faced a wave of backlash when word leaked that they were holding up Texas A&M, an Iowa State spokesman came to the school's defense.
There has been no waiver of any legal rights, John McCarroll, an Iowa State spokesman, told the Des Moines Register. McCarroll says that the school hasn't been approach to join in any lawsuit, but the message does ring clear -- Beebe was wrong in telling the SEC to not expect any issues from the Big 12.
Unless suddenly close to half of the Big 12's schools got cold feet, Beebe appears to have been way off in his promise to the SEC. One would hope that Beebe practiced due diligence and didn't just make assumptions in conversations with Slive about possible lawsuits, but his past poor decision-making skills would suggest otherwise.
Worse is that any rational observer could see this mounting battle coming. Why would any less known, less attractive team -- like say a Baylor or Iowa State -- voluntarily waive its right to sue?
Both schools could face issues in finding another conference as suitable as the Big 12 if the conference implodes and thus are holding on for dear life.
It's doubtful that the lawsuits will stop Texas A&M from moving to the SEC. If past precedent means anything, the Big East's lawsuit to stop Miami from heading to the ACC proved to be a futile effort.
But at the very least it slows down the process and maybe gives the Big 12 some more time to convince Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to spurn the Pac-12 and stay within the conference.
Conference realignment is moving at an incredibly rapid pace, so why shouldn't Big 12 schools ask for a little time to consider all of their options?
Schools like Baylor, Iowa State, and Kansas State realize that if Oklahoma leaves, that's it for the Big 12. Texas A&M doesn't guarantee its demise, but the loss of Oklahoma likely would.
This comes off as a public move to allow more time for private deal making. The Texas A&M to SEC debate will dominate the headlines, while Big 12 schools beg Oklahoma and Texas to stay put.
The Big 12 might not have long for this world, especially considering Beebe's apparent incompetency, but you can't fault some schools for fighting tooth and nail to keep it alive.
In the dog eat dog, every man for himself nature of conference realignment -- kudos to a few teams for refusing to be pushed to a future of complete irrelevancy.