Series could become home-and-home

DALLAS -- The city of Dallas reportedly has until November to raise hundred of thousands of dollars or risk losing the annual grudge match between the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma held at the Cotton Bowl each year during the State Fair.

The schools are threatening to pull out of their contract with the State Fair of Texas and go home-and-home if the city, the State Fair and other private groups fail to come up with the money to keep the Longhorns-Sooners classic in Dallas.

"If we don't meet demands by Nov. 11, then they have the choice to move the game outside of Dallas," said Sandi Bailey, executive director for the Hotel Association of Greater Dallas. "We're in an emergency state."

Ticket sales from the Red River Shootout generate $1 million for each school. But last year, school officials say, they needed more money to cover the cost of insurance and travel and lodging expenses for their bands and cheerleaders for the 2003 game, scheduled for next Saturday.

The schools are asking for an additional $350,000.

The State Fair of Texas and Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau agreed to payment and the November 2003 deadline, but didn't specify where the funds would come from.

State Fair officials, so far, have come up with $50,000. Members of a newly formed committee called "Save the Game" are hustling to raise another $50,000.

No other money is on the table, and it is uncertain whether school officials will accept a lesser amount.
Based on their contract, UT and OU are scheduled to hold their matchup at the Cotton Bowl through 2006. However, they can opt whenever they want.

This year's game will be held as planned, but Dallas could end up as just a pit stop next year as the home-and-home series alternates between Austin and Norman, Okla.

The State Fair has hosted the annual game since 1929, and it has been an economic boon to Dallas.