UT Confirms Home in Big 12 Conference

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Brian Bahr/Allsport
    A view of the Texas Longhorns fans as they hold up longhorn signs during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at the Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin.

    Lead by President William Powers Jr., The University of Texas officially announced Tuesday that the Longhorns are staying in the Big 12.

    Powers said the university had an "unequivocal commitment" to the conference after flirting with the Pac-10. A move west would've formed college football's first "mega conference" with a 16-school league.

    "We believe this decision is in the best interest of our student-athletes, coaches and university constituencies," Powers said. "We are pleased to continue the traditions we have developed with our partners in the Big 12. We are in this 10-team conference for the long-term."

    Chip Brown on UT in Big 12

    [DFW] Chip Brown on UT in Big 12
    Matt Barrie talks with Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com about UT in the Big 12.

    Powers, along with the school's athletics director Deloss Dodds, reiterated during the press conference, that UT's desire from the get go was to stay in the Big 12.

    "Our priority all along has been the continuance of the Big 12 Conference. We have worked diligently with other league members and conference staff to assess the strength and future viability of our institutions," said Dodds, men's athletics director. "The Big 12 has served its members well. We move forward with the commitment and confidence of 10 Big 12 universities to ensure the very best academic and athletics opportunities for the student-athletes we support."

    Best for Our Players, Fans and Texas

    [DFW] Best for Our Players, Fans and Texas
    Texas coach Mack Brown on UT staying in the Big 12 conference.

    Last week Colorado left the league for the Pac-10, and Nebraska bolted for the Big 10.  Both will begin play in their new conferences in 2011. Those moves, threatened the Big 12, which ultimately survived.

    In the end, television money was the deciding factor for Texas to stay. With the loss of Nebraska and Colorado, the remaining teams will get a bigger share of the revenue generated by the ABC/ESPN television contracts.  In addition, Texas will launch their own Longhorns Television Network, which they'll be able to keep all of the money earned. School officials are uncertain when that network will start, but are eyeing 2012.

    Starting in 2011, the new Big 12 will operate with 10-teams which will eliminate the Big 12 championship game signed to play in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Head football coach Mack Brown was fine losing the championship, admitting he didn't like it anyway. 

    In the end, the rivalries, tradition, and regional friendly league survived thanks to ESPN and millions of TV dollars.  

    On the Big 12 conference call Tuesday, commissioner Dan Beebe said there were no immediate plans to expand the conference from the current 10 members and that there were no plans for a championship game at this point.

    The second point is moot since you must have 12 teams to have a championship game.

    NBC DFW's Frank Heinz and Eric Kriendler contributed to this report.

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