Jones denies Big 12 talks with Arkansas

Updated: June 17, 2010, 5:47 PM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, through team officials, denied talking to the University of Arkansas about a move to the Big 12.

Rich Dalrymple, Cowboys vice president of public relations, said Thursday that Jones also denied a newspaper report that he wanted Notre Dame to join the Big 12.

Jones' son, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, was asked Wednesday how the Arkansas program differs today from when he played there in 1989. In the KXAS-TV interview, he said that Arkansas fits as a natural rival in the Big 12 and that two coaches in the football program told him the percentage of players on the team from the state of Texas has dwindled from 60 to 10.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the school has "no interest" in joining another conference and that the school is happy in the SEC.

The Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World and News reported Wednesday that Jerry Jones wanted Notre Dame to join Arkansas as part of a newly formed Big 12. Citing a source familiar with Jones' thinking, the paper said the Cowboys owner wants to revive the old Southwest Conference rivalries with Texas and Texas A&M.

A source confirmed Jones' interest in bringing Arkansas to the Big 12 to ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday night.

Arkansas left the Southwest Conference and joined the SEC in 1991.

Jones was a co-captain of the 1964 Arkansas national championship team and remains close to several people in the school's athletic department.

Cowboys Stadium is scheduled to host the Big 12 title game through 2013, but with Colorado and Nebraska leaving in the next two seasons, a 10-school Big 12 would not be eligible to hold a championship game for 2013.

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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