Today in sports: Unfortunately for Rick Perry, Texas A&M isn't switching conferences, Mark Sanchez's is GQ's latest cover subject, and Kansas State is launching its own, not very-good-sounding cable network.
- The Southeast Conference decided Sunday not to extend a membership invitation to Texas A&M University. That's a blow to Texas Governor Rick Perry's presidential strategy, if you believe Texas Monthly senior executive editor Paul Burka who contended Perry, an A&M alum, would try to exploit the school joining the SEC as an effort to "validate himself as a southerner" to GOP audiences. Burka doesn't cite any specifics for the plan, but the account of Perry's performance at the Alabama GOP's annual summer dinner Friday night, back when an A&M move was looking like a done deal, published today in the Press-Register reveals the Texas governor is at least comfortable playing college football politics. According to the Press-Register, Perry "bounded to the stage as the fight song of Texas A&M" played over the loudspeakers, which provoked "thunderous applause from the crowd." Upon taking the stage, he was quoted asking the audience, “How many SEC supporters do we have in here? Rumor has it y’all may be hearing that Aggie fight song a little more often.” That last comment supposedly provoked "a smattering of boos," which we assume were of the good-natured variety. [Texas Monthly and the Press Register]
- New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is on the cover of the September issue of GQ, which hits newsstands next week. The article contains plenty of grist for the New York sports talk radio mill, including the revelation that the quarterback's DVR is dominated by episodes of Glee and a Justin Bieber documentary, as well as Sanchez's comments detailing the kinship he feels with Broadway's top performers. "They have eight shows a week. They have to take care of their bodies, stretch, eat right, take care of their voices," explains Sanchez. "You know, their voice is like my arm." If Sanchez is burned by the GQ flame, it wouldn't be the first time. He was summarily razzed by teammates and the New York media for the 2009 interview he gave to the magazine, which was accompanied by photos of the then-rookie posing with model Hilary Rhoda and jogging shirtless on a beach in red, Baywatch-style swim trunks. [Mediabistro and GQ]
- New England Tom Brady quarterback had an inexplicable GQ photo spread of his own back in 2005 when he was snapped clutching a baby goat, but unlike Sanchez, the three-time Super Bowl winner has an obsessive and possibly unhealthy ability to fixate on minor setbacks, which he displayed Monday in a radio interview on Boston's WEII, announcing he'll "never get over" the Patriots loss to Sanchez's the Jets in the playoffs last year, calling it "as painful" as any loss he's had since coming to New England including, apparently, the Super Bowl XLII loss to the New York Giants that cost the team a 17-0 perfect season. [WEII]
- Baseball fans and connoisseurs of cable television set design should tune in to ESPN at 10 p.m. Monday night, when Baseball Tonight unveils its new set. According to the official ESPN press release, the new space will be "the largest ESPN sport-specific studio, with approximately 5,000 square feet," including what's being called "an expansive demonstration area" and "enhanced demo field" for the show's frequent primers on how to drag bunt, what constitutes a balk and how not to slide into second base. [ESPN]
- Major League Baseball had planned on voting on Jim Crane's plan to buy the Houston Astros at this week's owners meeting in Cooperstown, N.Y., but those plans have been tabled, reportedly because "MLB still isn’t comfortable enough for [Commissioner Bud] Selig to recommend [Crane] to the other 29 owners," the Houston Chronicle reports Monday. An MLB source stressed that the $680 million purchase could still go through, but more "due diligence" was needed on Crane, with "a host of Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner complaints in 1997 against one of Crane’s companies, Eagle USA Airfreight, accusing it of discriminating against blacks and women" and "charges of profiteering during the Iraq war" among the issues that reportedly holding up the league's decision to sign off on recommending Crane. Monday's news supposedly came as a surprise to current Astros Drayton McClane, who the Chronicle reports was "so certain Crane would be approved as owner that he had consulted him on every move in recent weeks, including the trading of outfielders Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence and the firing of pitching coach Brad Arnsberg." [Houston Chronicle]