Houston-to-Big 12 candidacy backed by Texas heavyweights

Houston's Big 12 candidacy received three major endorsements Thursday, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick and University of Texas president Greg Fenves posted messages on Twitter endorsing the Cougars' bid to join the conference.

Following the endorsements, Houston regents chair Tilman Fertitta told ESPN.com that his school welcomed the support.

"I very much appreciate it," he said. "I always thought President Fenves was an intelligent man. We can't do this without the support of our burnt orange neighbors. We appreciate them all."

Houston is currently in the American Athletic Conference.

Texas, like every current Big 12 school, would have a vote on whether Houston is invited into the conference. A supermajority (eight votes) is needed for a school to get into the Big 12.

"As chairman of the Big 12 Conference, it is not appropriate for me to comment on the prospects of any individual university," Oklahoma president David Boren said in a statement.

On Tuesday, the conference announced that it had authorized commissioner Bob Bowlsby to begin exploring expansion candidates.