The Big 12’s long-term future continues to grow cloudier.
Texas regents have called a special meeting for Monday to discuss and take “appropriate action regarding potential legal issues related to athletic conference membership and contracting.”
The 3 p.m. meeting via teleconference, posted today by school officials, also will allow regents to take “appropriate action” in regard to a “delegation to act on” conference realignment.
Texas’ meeting will be held on the same day that Oklahoma regents convene to “discuss potential legal ramifications of conference realignment options” and “take any appropriate action.”
Big 12 sources said the likely outcome of both sessions will be to authorize each school president _ Texas’ Bill Powers and Oklahoma’s David Boren _ to take action in regard to conference realignment, similar to what Texas A&M regents did on Aug. 15 with president R. Bowen Loftin.
Loftin notified Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe of A&M’s official withdrawal on Aug. 31 and the school has been approved as a conditional member of the Southeastern Conference, pending a waiver of legal claims by Baylor and other Big 12 schools.
Multiple Big 12 sources have indicated Oklahoma prefers a move to the Pac-12 but Texas’ plans are less clear. Texas officials have been public in their desire to remain part of the Big 12 but began actively contemplating other options after a Sunday meeting with a delegation from Oklahoma.
A Big 12 source said today that the situation regarding Texas is “very fluid” at present.
Texas sources said the school’s potential options include a move to an expanded Atlantic Coast Conference, where Texas could keep its 20-year, $300 million contract with ESPN for the Longhorn Network. A move to the Pac-12 _ probably in conjunction with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech _ remains under discussion but would require tweaking the Longhorn Network to become one of the league’s regional networks.
A move to the Big Ten, which does not currently allow single-school or regional networks, is not considered viable unless the Big Ten alters existing rules to accommodate the LHN. Texas could become an independent but school officials have said they would prefer to remain in a conference.
_ Jimmy Burch