The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors announced Sunday that Texas A&M University will join the Southeastern Conference effective July 1, 2012, for the 2012-13 academic year.
With the addition of Texas A&M, the SEC membership will increase to 13 institutions. It is the first expansion for the SEC since September of 1991 when the University of South Carolina joined the league. The University of Arkansas joined the SEC in August of 1991. With the addition of Arkansas and South Carolina, the SEC was the first conference to split into divisions and add a conference championship game in 1992.
"The Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors are pleased to welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family," said Dr. Bernie Machen, chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors and president of the University of Florida. "The addition of Texas A&M University as the SEC's 13th member gives our league a prestigious academic institution with a strong athletic tradition and a culture similar to our current institutions."
"The Southeastern Conference provides Texas A&M the national visibility that our great university and our student-athletes deserve," said Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin. "We are excited to begin competition in the nation's premier athletic conference. This is a 100-year decision that we have addressed carefully and methodically, and I believe the Southeastern Conference gives the Aggies the best situation of any conference in the country."
Texas A&M, located in College Station, will also be the third institution in the Southeastern Conference to hold membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, joining University of Florida and Vanderbilt University. Texas A&M has an enrollment of 50,000 students, ranking as the sixth-largest university in the country, with 360,000 former students worldwide.
Texas A&M also adds to the athletic excellence of the SEC. Last season, the Aggies won three NCAA team titles for men's and women's outdoor track and field and women's basketball and finished eighth in the prestigious Learfield Sports Director's Cup all-sport rankings.
"On behalf of our presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, students and fans, I welcome Texas A&M University to the SEC family," said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. "Texas A&M is a nationally-prominent institution on and off the field and a great fit for the SEC tradition of excellence—athletically, academically and culturally."
The Aggies sponsor 20 varsity sports. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Women's sports include basketball, equestrian, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country and volleyball. Texas A&M participates in every sport sponsored by the SEC except gymnastics and the SEC sponsors every sport the Aggies participate in except equestrian.