Texas A&M’s departure from the Big 12 has turned out to be a fruitful one, at least financially, for the Aggies. However, it has costed them a good chunk of history.
Texas A&M and Texas, bitter rivals in a series that dates to 1894, had met every season since 1915. That was before Texas A&M — and Missouri — left the Big 12 to join the SEC.
Any interest in the Aggies and Longhorns keeping their tradition intact doesn’t seem to be there at the moment.
Former Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, who served in that position from 2003-12, retired just two months before the school would officially make its move to the SEC in July 2012 and only a year before his contract was set to expire in 2013.
In a story by AL.com’s John Talty, Byrne — who told the SEC at the time of the transition to keep Thanksgiving weekend open when doing conference scheduling — talks about how his desire to play Texas wasn’t reciprocated.
In fact, he told AL.com that the Longhorns schemed with the rest of the Big 12 to avoid the Aggies altogether.
“Their (former) AD (DeLoss Dodds) at the time came out and said we will never play Texas A&M again, and they worked along with Baylor and the conference to have no one in the (Big 12) schedule us,” Byrne said. “There were other forces at work to make sure we didn’t play.”
Back in 2011, Dodds sent an email to Byrne telling him that the Longhorns’ non-conference schedule had been filled through 2018.
The Aggies’ feelings aren’t hurt based on how they’ve profited since coming to the SEC. For 2014-15, Texas A&M led the nation in annual operating revenue with $192.6 million. For 2015-16, it led the state with $194.4 million. Those marks were helped by stadium donations.
Still, Texas A&M has proven it has a bright future without Texas — or the Big 12, for that matter — moving forward.
“We don’t need them anymore,” Byrne said.
The Aggies have also been better on the football field since 2012, recording 44 wins to the Longhorns’ 33. Meanwhile, Texas A&M has made the postseason each season while Texas hasn’t done so in the last two.