Thursday, February 11, 2010
Big Ten reportedly talks with Texas
By Adam Rittenberg
Perhaps this Texas-to-the-Big Ten thing is more than simple speculation (or wishful thinking).
The Lawrence Journal-World reports today the Big Ten has had preliminary talks with Texas about joining the league. The Big Ten announced in December that it would actively explore the possibility of expansion during the next 12-18 months, but this is the first legitimate report of discussions with another institution.
"There have been preliminary exchanges between the Big Ten and Texas," the source told the Journal-World on Wednesday. "People will deny that, but it's accurate."
As I said last week, the Big Ten would be silly not to gauge Texas' interest in joining the league. Texas is a true home-run addition, much like Notre Dame, and would be an excellent fit both athletically and academically. UT would allow the Big Ten to extend its reach into the south, which would have benefits for both the Big Ten Network and recruiting.
I think the decision here ultimately rests with Texas, which wants to maintain its rivalries with Texas A&M and Oklahoma and make smart financial choices. Texas would have to weigh the increased revenue it would get from the Big Ten against the increased travel costs for playing in the league.
The Big Ten likely wouldn't want to add any more teams if it lures Texas but might have to consider some type of package deal so the Longhorns could keep playing A&M and OU.