Texas, Dodds working on new deal

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds is negotiating a contract extension that would keep him leading the program he built into one of the biggest, wealthiest and most successful in the nation beyond 2011.

Patti Ohlendorf, vice president of legal affairs at Texas, confirmed late Wednesday night that Dodds is in discussions with university President William Powers Jr. She called Dodds, 72, the "best athletic director in the country."

Texas appears to be counting on keeping Dodds at the helm to steer the program through possible realignment among the major athletic conferences.

"We all hope they come to an agreement," Ohlendorf told The Associated Press.

Dodds' current contract pays him $675,000 and expires Aug. 31, 2011.

Ohlendorf said she knew of no specific terms on a deal but said "I think President Powers wants DeLoss to stay as long as he wants to."

Dodds took over the Texas program in 1981 and saw it through the demise of the old Southwest Conference and the creation of the Big 12. Last year, Texas athletics generated about $125 million, with $80 million coming from football. Dodds recently oversaw a major expansion and renovation of Darrell K. Royal/Texas Memorial Stadium.

Although his age has created some speculation that Dodds could soon retire, he has given no public indication that he planned to step down.

Like other major programs, Texas is facing a critical time with possible changes among the major conferences. Texas had been identified as a possible target for Big Ten expansion, a notion that Dodds quickly shot down.

Dodds has said Texas likes its position in the Big 12, but he and the Longhorns could be expected to lead the effort to reshape the Big 12 and other leagues if the Big Ten picks schools out of the Big 12. Missouri and Nebraska are reported to be interested in leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten.

Texas is also reported to be researching starting its own television network for sports programming.