Texas A&M has sent a letter to the Big 12 offices in Dallas explaining that they are "exploring options related to the institution's athletic conference affiliation," according to a report from the San Antonio News-Express.
This is the first step towards realizing rampant speculation that the Aggies will join the SEC.
To legally cover their bases, Texas A&M first needed to inform the Big 12 of their intentions. Once the formal request is received, the Big 12 will need to allow Texas A&M to look at other options before the school and another conference can actively pursue each other. It's akin to posting a note on Facebook that you are breaking up with your current girlfriend before you go out with the Southern girl you've always coveted.
From an August 15 New York Times article, "The holdups appear to be legal. Entering the meeting, SEC officials made clear that their biggest reservations about adding Texas A&M were legal ones. The potential for claims of tortuous interference looms because of Texas A&M's Big 12 television contract."
The Big 12 director's board meets on Saturday, at which time they'll vote and the Aggies would be free to pursue an outside conference thereafter. Once released, the process of adding Texas A&M to the SEC should move along swiftly.