Source: UT, 3 others poised for Pac-10
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will join the Pac-10 Conference when a formal offer is made, a source told ESPN's Joe Schad on Friday.
Texas A&M, The Austin American-Statesman reported, is torn between joining the Pac-10 or Southeastern Conference. The Aggies will have a 72-hour timetable to decide whether to accept the Pac-10's offer, the newspaper reported.
A formal offer from the Pac-10 could come as soon as this weekend, the newspaper reported.
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Another source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN.com's Andy Katz that Texas A&M was looking at the SEC, but the source said he is convinced the Aggies will end up in the Pac-10.
The source said the SEC consideration was fueled by "ego purposes" within Texas A&M, that the Aggies' power brokers sought distance from the Texas decision and didn't want to convey the appearance they were doing everything because of Texas.
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."
Texas is considered the linchpin to the Big 12's survival, particularly after the league lost Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-10) in a matter of two days this week. The Texas regents said they will hold a meeting in Austin on Tuesday for "discussion and appropriate action regarding athletic conference membership."
Iowa State president Gregory Geoffroy said the future of the Big 12 was up to Texas.
"If the University of Texas were to decide that they want to be a member of the Big 12, then I'm confident the Big 12 would stay together," he said. "If the University of Texas decides they do not wish to and wish to do something else, then I think the conference will be greatly altered."
Longhorns athletic director DeLoss Dodds has said he wants to keep the Big 12 together. It was not immediately clear if scheduling the regents meeting meant those efforts have failed.
"Our goals and hopes all along have been to keep the Big 12 Conference intact," Dodds said in a statement. "It is both premature and inappropriate to speculate on what our UT System Regents will discuss at next Tuesday's meeting. But, as the dynamics of the Big 12 continue to change around us, we will utilize additional time to continue our work and evaluate our options."
Texas Tech has also scheduled a special board of regents meeting for Tuesday, at which the formalization of an acceptance to the Pac-10 could occur, the Big 12 source told ESPN.
The athletic director of Texas' longtime interstate rival, Oklahoma, said if the Longhorns were to announce they were committed to staying in the Big 12, the other teams left would likely remain, too.
"Behind the scenes, we're talking about all the different kinds of strategies and plans that would prove that point," Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione told The Oklahoman on Thursday.
Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas have been gathering information about the fiscal viability of keeping the conference alive with 10 teams, a Big 12 source told ESPN's Schad. In that scenario the conference would sacrifice a conference title game. They are exploring the television ramifications as well.
"We have a very, very strong sense from our television partners that the revenue stream would be very, very good going forward," Castiglione told The Oklahoman. "Better than where we are today."
A source familiar with the Pac-10's plans told ESPN that the SEC's interest in Texas A&M and Oklahoma is "real." Another source within the Big 12 said Texas A&M does not necessarily feel it should be required to be attached to the Longhorns.
Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin told The Associated Press that the rapid changes are forcing the school to consider its options.
"We're still working through the issues," Loftin said. "We're also waiting to see what happens with other schools. We were very happy to stay in the Big 12, the way it was. It's changing now, and we need to figure out what that means.
"The Big 12 is not what it was, and we have to think about its future, and ours."
Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw reiterated his school's desire for the four Texas teams from the Big 12 to "remain aligned" in the same conference -- preferably the Big 12. Baylor, the league's only private school, would likely be left behind if Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech leave for other leagues.
"We're focused on keeping the Big 12 together and maintaining the rivalries that we've enjoyed with our four Big 12 Texas brothers," he said. "Those traditions go over the last 100 years and we certainly want to do everything we can to maintain those rivalries within the conference structure. "
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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