A Look at Texas A&M’s Move to the SEC
The Texas A&M University football team’s win over top-ranked Alabama in 2012 will never be forgotten by the Aggie faithful, but the game is not the only memory that a Texas A&M University System regent carries from that day.
Piloting his private jet to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for the game, the regent, Jim Schwertner, secured a prime landing slot at an airport and later persuaded security to let his limo park next to the stadium despite not having a permit — after telling officials he was traveling with the “first lady of Texas A&M.”
“I’m sure the air traffic controller had no idea who the first lady of Texas A&M really was,” Mr. Schwertner said, sitting in his Georgetown, Tex., hangar, before launching into laughter. A&M’s “first lady” is a collie named Reveille.
Mr. Schwertner recounted the story several times to Richard Box, a former Texas A&M System board chairman, who smiled with each telling. The repetition was not solely for their enjoyment. The men were filming a scene for a planned documentary about Texas A&M’s move to the Southeastern Conference in 2012.
A&M’s decision to join the SEC, which has been widely heralded as a transformational move for the university, will be the subject of print and film accounts, set to come out this fall, that detail the behind-the-scenes moves that brought about the change.
By leaving the Big 12 Conference for the SEC, the university cut ties with other Texas institutions, including its longtime rival, the University of Texas at Austin. The proposed shift drew a backlash from A&M alumni, threats of lawsuits from other institutions and lobbying from legislators. (The Texas A&M System, the university and U.T.-Austin are corporate sponsors of The Texas Tribune.)