Saturday, June 12, 2010
Oklahoma meets with Pac-10 officials
ESPN.com news services
AUSTIN, Texas -- Oklahoma president David Boren and athletic director Joe Castiglione had a meeting Saturday with Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott, the school said in a statement.
Oklahoma's Board of Regents plans to meet Wednesday afternoon to weigh conference options.
In the meantime, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds says the Longhorns are still "looking at all options" before deciding whether to stay in the Big 12 or move to another league.
Dodds spoke outside of his stadium suite before Saturday's Texas-TCU baseball game.
He said, "could be" when asked about reports that Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott is traveling to Oklahoma and Texas this weekend to invite Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to join his league.
Big 12 sources continued to suggest to ESPN on Saturday the addition of five more Big 12 teams to the Pac-10 is the most likely scenario. The exodus could begin as early as Tuesday, when the boards of regents of Texas and Texas Tech have scheduled meetings to discuss conference affiliation.
But nothing has been finalized.
An official at a Big 12 school with knowledge of the talks confirmed to The Associated Press that Scott was traveling to Texas and Oklahoma this weekend to present a case. The official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. Pac-10 officials did not immediately respond to e-mail messages from the AP seeking comment.
Texas is considered the linchpin to the Big 12's survival after the league lost Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-10) in a matter of two days this week.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were also poised to make the move to the Pac-10, and Texas A&M will likely follow through to join those four, but the Aggies were still considering the SEC, a Big 12 source said Friday and reiterated on Saturday.
A source with knowledge of the SEC interests said Saturday the SEC is interested in adding Texas A&M, even though it is extremely unlikely to gain its preferred choices of Texas and Oklahoma. Texas A&M may be the only of those Big 12 options the SEC would be able to lure, and would make the move even if Texas and Oklahoma went elsewhere.
A source with knowledge of Oklahoma's future told ESPN on Saturday the Sooners had not committed to the Pac-10. He said there were several options being considered and the discussions were ongoing. One plan still on the table was to keep the 10 remaining Big 12 schools together and reposition the conference for the future. The source said there was compelling information the Big 12 would still be very strong. The Big 12 could remain at 10 or add teams, which the source said would be a choice to be made later and carefully reviewed.
Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said Friday he is still working to convince the remaining 10 members to stay put.
"We're working with all those members. We've had a lot of positive feedback about the desire of those institutions to [stay] together," Beebe said. "There's been a lot of speculation about people going west ... I'm going all the way to the final whistle. I'm playing it out as hard and fast as I can."
Officials from five schools -- Kansas, Missouri, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor -- had a conference call on Saturday, the Kansas City Star reported. The schools agreed they would like to continue as members of the now 10-team Big 12.
As for other options for the SEC, a source familiar with the SEC's plans told ESPN on Saturday the SEC does not plan to consider adding Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State or Miami. The source saw no way the SEC would raid the ACC and added serious doubt that Virginia Tech could be pried away from Virginia. The source also dismissed the idea the SEC would go after Kansas, although a Kansas source said that would be a preference for the Jayhawks.
Texas president William Powers Jr. and football coach Mack Brown watched the baseball game from Dodds' suite. Powers, when stopped in the stairwell of Disch-Falk Stadium, declined comment.
"I'm just watching the ball game guys," Powers said.
Texas would need the regents' approval to change leagues.
Texas A&M has not scheduled a regents meeting. Texas A&M president Bowen Loftin would not comment this week on whether the Aggies were considering moves to the SEC or the Pac-10, or say if the school was leaning toward one league over another.
Loftin said he would like A&M and Texas to continue their annual football rivalry, even if the teams end up in different leagues.
"We were very happy to stay in the Big 12, the way it was. It's changing now," Loftin said. "The Big 12 is not what it was, and we have to think about its future, and ours."
The possible breakup of the Big 12, and the prospect of Baylor and Texas A&M not joining Texas in a new league, is causing some alarm at the Texas Capitol.
The House Higher Education Committee has scheduled a Wednesday meeting "to discuss matters pertaining to higher education, including collegiate athletics."
Gov. Rick Perry, a Texas A&M graduate and former Aggie yell leader, has appointed every regent to the schools' respective boards. But he said this week he is staying out of the conference decisions and would not try to influence what the schools do.
Information from The Associated Press, ESPN's Joe Schad and ESPN.com's Andy Katz was used in this report.