UT, OU to keep Red River Rivalry in Dallas until '10
AUSTIN -- The Red River Rivalry is staying in Dallas until 2010.
Texas and Oklahoma officials announced Thursday they have agreed to keep their annual football game at the Cotton Bowl for another five years, replacing the current contract that expires in 2008.
"This is good news," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "Hopefully all parties involved will find a way to keep the game in Dallas and work towards a solution that might allow us to play there for a long time."
The pageantry of the game at the Cotton Bowl, where the crowds of the State Fair and the colors of burnt orange and crimson split at the 50-yard line, helped make it one of the top rivalries in college football.
The game has been played on a neutral field in Dallas every year since 1929.
"The experience has been wonderful," said DeLoss Dodds, Texas athletic director. "The game is a tradition."
But school officials had been concerned the 75-year-old stadium had long ago stopped being a premier facility and considered moving the game to their home fields.
"This is the signal we've been waiting for," said Dallas mayor Laura Miller. "We intend now to pursue our vision of aggressively pursuing four other teams to play the other two weekends of the State Fair and then go forward with our original plans to significantly upgrade the Cotton Bowl."
City officials had proposed a $50 million renovation that would push capacity beyond 90,000. The new deal does not require any improvements to the stadium. Any renovations would be a decision by the city of Dallas or the State Fair.
Miller said stadium improvements are essential to Dallas keeping the game for the long haul.
"Obviously, we cannot put aside the practical aspects," Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said.
"But we sense commitment from our partners and other constituents in Dallas and are anxious to work toward an agreement that can address our very real concerns, while preserving the greatness of this event," he said.
What prompted the schools and the city to agree on a new deal instead of continuing to work under the old one remained unclear.
"What I have said all along is we don't want to be in a position to tell Dallas what they need to do to the Cotton Bowl," Dodds said. "This says to the Cotton Bowl and the city of Dallas that we want the game there, but it is not our decision on what they do with the stadium. It's their decision."
The possibility of moving the game from its traditional home had rankled some fans. One old coach even chimed in.
"Why fix it? It's far from broken," former Longhorns coach Darrell Royal, who led Texas to two outright national titles and a share of a third, said last month.
"The game's been sold out since I was a freshman in college at Oklahoma," Royal said.
Texas and Oklahoma meet for the 101st time on Oct. 7.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press