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Monday, December 5, 2005
Cotton Bowl unveils plan to add 16,000-plus seats

Associated Press

DALLAS -- The Cotton Bowl would add more than 16,000 seats and undergo extensive remodeling under a plan unveiled Monday, but the city's mayor warned that the home of the Texas-Oklahoma game must receive new commitments before renovations are approved.

The nearly $50 million proposal would upgrade seats, concession stands, scoreboards and restrooms to the decaying 75-year-old stadium. Seating capacity would increase to 92,100 under the 34-proposal that was to be submitted to the City Council.

Frustrated with the deteriorating facility, athletic directors from Texas and Oklahoma have threatened to exercise an opt-out after 2007 and switch the Red River Rivalry to a home-and-home series.

Dallas Mayor Laura Miller said she wants extended commitments from schools before making improvements. Miller said in Monday's online edition of The Dallas Morning News that if the city doesn't receive long-term pledges, "then we won't upgrade the Cotton Bowl."

Prairie View-Grambling and the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic are the only other football games the stadium hosts. The city has been trying to lure Texas A&M and Texas Tech to play its annual game at Fair Park.

Before this year's game, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said he wanted to keep the Texas-Oklahoma game in Dallas but was not optimistic. He said he would find it difficult for the city to commit so much money to a stadium that hosts only a handful of games each year.

But Miller told the newspaper that negotiations were "going very well" between Texas and Oklahoma and that she expected an announcement in January.

"We won't lose it. We're not going to lose it," Miller said.

Since 1929, the border rivalry has been played in Dallas, roughly halfway between the campuses in Norman, Okla., and Austin. The stadium is equally divided between burnt orange-clad Texas fans and crimson-wearing Sooners and anchors the surrounding State Fair of Texas.