The San Antonio Express News this afternoon reports that the Big 12 Conference received a letter from Texas A&M University stating Texas A&M will be “exploring options related to the institution’s athletic conference affiliation."

A&M’s letter to the Big 12 is similar to the process that Nebraska, now in the Big Ten Conference; and Colorado, now in the PAC-12 Conference;  followed in its exit from the Big 12 last year.

Soon after notice of the letter to the Big 12 Conference became public, Texas A&M University issued its own press release:

In the letter to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin indicated that if the university withdraws from the conference, Texas A&M would do so in a way that complies with the Big 12's bylaws. Additionally, Texas A&M would be supportive of the Big 12's efforts to seek a new member of the conference.

"As I have indicated previously, we are working very deliberately to act in the best long-term interests of both Texas A&M and the State of Texas. This truly is a 100-year decision," said Loftin. "While we understand the desire of all parties to quickly reach a resolution, these are extremely complex issues that we are addressing methodically."

"Ultimately, we are seeking to generate greater visibility nationwide for Texas A&M and our championship-caliber student-athletes, as well as secure the necessary and stable financial resources to support our athletic and academic programs," Loftin added. "As a public university, Texas A&M owes it to the state's taxpayers to maximize our assets and generate additional revenues both now and well into the future."

If an exit agreement is worked out with the Big 12 Conference in the near future, Texas A&M could join the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as soon as August 2012.  Otherwise, Texas A&M will most likely join the the SEC in the fall of 2013.