Steve Patterson: Focus not on Aggies
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said Tuesday that he's not looking to schedule a nonconference football matchup against Texas A&M, at least not in the short term, because he's more concerned about expanding the Longhorns' brand with more opportunities for games outside the United States.
"There's a lot of great tradition with Texas A&M. At some point in time, does it make some business sense, some branding sense to play again? I don't know," Patterson said. "It's not at the top of my list. I'm really more focused on how we grow the footprint of the department."
The first-year athletic director has already scheduled a men's basketball game against Washington in China for 2015, and the program will participate in a three-city basketball event with Michigan State, North Carolina and Florida in 2018.
Patterson is focused on finding similar opportunities for Texas football, and for that reason he's in no hurry to reunite with Texas A&M.
He sees Texas as being in a unique position to grow its international brand and said it's essential to use athletics as a platform to tell the university's story.
"They shouldn't be done for junketeering purposes," Patterson said. "They should be done in a fashion that grows the profile and the interest of the university of a broad scale internationally."
Patterson reportedly has expressed interest in playing a nonconference football game in Mexico City. Another possibility Patterson acknowledged Tuesday could be a future sporting event in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
"We have a lot of folks in the oil and gas industry," Patterson said. "Houston is the center of the world in terms of the gas industry. A lot of those alums spend time in the Middle East, and Dubai is a place that wants to use sports to help put itself on the map. So we'll have some conversations, and we'll see where they lead."
Patterson has repeatedly said since his hiring in November that he is not pushing for a rematch with Texas A&M following its departure from the Big 12 for the SEC.
Shortly after Patterson was hired, Texas A&M associate athletic director Jason Cook told ESPN.com and the San Antonio Express-News that the lack of interest is mutual, saying, "We hope to play them again in a BCS bowl or playoff game at some point."