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SEC commish hopeful A&M will join in 2012

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive says he remains hopeful Texas A&M will join the league by next season and that the conference has "started to look at schedules for 2012-13 for 13 teams."

SEC presidents voted to accept Texas A&M last week, but the invitation was contingent on Texas A&M being free of legal issues regarding its departure from the Big 12. Several Big 12 schools, including Baylor, have said they have not waived their right to consider litigation.

"As I said over the past year or so, the SEC has had no particular interest in expansion. We were, and are, happy with 12 teams. If Texas A&M's President, Dr. Bowen Loftin had not called me in late July, we had no plans to explore adding an institution," Slive said in a news release. "However, when President Loftin called we became interested. Texas A&M is an outstanding academic institution with an exceptional athletic program, passionate fans and wonderful traditions. While the SEC wasn't thinking about expansion, it was impossible not to be interested in Texas A&M."

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Texas A&M's entrance into the SEC isn't official just yet, but there's no doubt that Slive's use of "when," as well as his act of releasing a statement, makes it clear that the recent talk of legal action hasn't derailed either side's plans for Texas A&M to join the league before next season.