Big 12 is Aliiiive!

Texas turns down PAC-10 invite

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The University of Texas turned down an invitation to join the PAC-10 conference, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

    PAC-10 Commissioner Larry Scott confirmed to the newspaper that Texas will not join the Pacific 10 in creating a 16-team super conference. And UT told the The Associated Press a short time later that it would "continue competing in the Big 12."

    Texas school officials have called a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

    The Big 12 Conference would move forward with 10 remaining schools after Nebraska and Colorado announced last week that they will join the Big Ten and PAC-10, respectively.

    Fewer teams, but more money?

    Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has reportedly told his remaining members that new television deals with a 10-team league would give league revenues a huge boost.

    A person with direct knowledge of discussions among the Big 12's remaining members said the University of Texas would be clear to set up its own TV network and keep all proceeds in exchange for remaining in the Big 12. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because nothing has been finalized, stopped short of flatly predicting the league would survive, adding that details were still being worked out.

    Big 12 officials have told member schools that the loss of the Denver and Nebraska television markets would not weaken the league's negotiating position with TV networks as much as feared, the person said.

    The deal would reportedly would guarantee that the 'Horns would get between $20 million to $25 million annually. The University of Oklahoma and Texas A&M would also reportedly be guaranteed about $20 million annually, with the rest of the Big 12 schools netting between $14 million and $17 million per year.

    Last year, Big 12 schools got between $7 million and $10 million each, depending on how many appearances they made on regional and national TV.

    Each school must still sign off on the deal.

    And it's unclear how and why the conference will be more lucrative, especially because it can't hold a conference title game without 12 teams.

    The Big 12 championship game was scheduled to be held at Cowboys Stadium through 2013.

    Fans glad the drama is over

    College football fans said they are glad the Big 12 -- and the Red River Rivalry -- are here to stay.

    "It means we still get to have an OU/Texas, most likely," OU grad Natalie Clarke said. "The most fun game, and everyone anticipates that one game."

    "It's good that we'll still have our rivalries like OU and all those games," UT senior Gretchen Devero said.

    Most fans are toasting to continued rivalries.

    "I just like the Big 12," Natalie Devero said. "I like having UT and Mizzou in there. It's a nice family competition."

    "Texas needs to be in a conference with Texas teams," Bill DeButy said. "I mean, that's just where they belong."

    But at least one Longhorns fan didn't hate the idea of playing out west.

    "It would be something new, and I also think it's good for recruiting, going out to the West Coast, so I was actually looking forward to it."

    Aggies also sticking with Big 12

    While it was questionable if Texas A&M would stick with the Big 12, the Aggies have also made their intentions to stay put clear.

    "Texas A&M is a proud member of the Big 12 Conference and will continue to be affiliated with the conference in the future," school president R. Bowen Loftin said in a statement Monday.

    Officials at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma issued similar statements.

    A&M officials had met with PAC-10 and Southeastern Conference officials in recent days. If the Aggies had jumped ship -- and bumped the team count down to nine -- it wasn't clear if the remaining Big 12 schools would feel the conference was worth saving.

    PAC-10 still eying expansion

    Meanwhile, the PAC-10, which was trying to dramatically change the landscape of college sports, is now looking for its next target.

    The conference is looking for at least one more school to bump it up to 12 members by the time Colorado joins.

    Utah from the Mountain West Conference would seem a likely candidate.

    PAC-10 commissioner Larry Scott's plan was to add Texas (with Notre Dame the big prize in the conference expansion game) along with its main Big 12 South rivals -- Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

    Because Texas is the richest and most powerful of the Big 12 schools, the Longhorns were seen as the lynchpin to the deal. Wherever Texas decided to place its cash cow football program, the rest of the schools would seemingly fall in line.


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