By JIM VERTUNO
AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The University of Texas likes its position
in the Big 12 Conference and has not talked with the Big Ten
about its expansion plans, athletic director DeLoss Dodds said
Dodds spoke with The Associated Press on Wednesday after recent
speculation that the Longhorns program could be courted by the
Big Ten, which is considering expanding.
Dodds said Texas would be a natural target for any league
because of the school’s strong academics, athletics and the
power to draw a large television audience. But Texas and the Big
12 are good for each other, Dodds said, adding “It’s working. I
The Big Ten announced in December it would explore options for
expansion to add a 12th school. The Big Ten also looked at
expansion in 1993, 1998 and 2003. Penn State was the last team
to join in 1990, and Notre Dame rejected an offer in 1999.
Earlier this month, speculation on possible targets focused on
Texas, which has one of the wealthiest athletic programs in the
country and is a major research university with a huge alumni
base surrounded by some of the larger television markets in the
“We’re always going to be looked at. I don’t think that’s a bad
thing. That’s a good thing,” Dodds said.
He said there have been no talks between the Texas and the Big
Ten. He said the Big 12 has been a good fit for the Longhorns
since the conference started in 1996 with the members of the old
Big Eight and four members of the old Southwest Conference.
“I think it’s been a great conference for us and we’ve been good
for the conference. Before the (Big 12), we were struggling with
recruiting and struggling with all kinds of things. The Big 12
has brought us stability, kept Texas kids in Texas,” he said.
“All the sports have been good to us. We’ve built up some good
rivalries. It’s been good for us,” Dodds said.
Even if another school were to leave the Big 12, Dodds said he
believes the remaining members would try to keep the conference
intact by finding a replacement instead of seeing a domino
effect of schools bolting for other leagues.
“I don’t know who that would be,” Dodds said.
If the league has a problem, it’s that the Big 12 is not as old
as the Big Ten or the Southeastern Conference, Dodds said.
“People around the country kind of pick on us because we don’t
have ‘tradition.’ I don’t think we need that. I think we’re
pretty darn good. You don’t have to be 100 years old to be
good,” Dodds said.
The Big 12 does not have the lucrative TV deals the Big Ten and
SEC do, but its day will come, Dodds said. The league’s
contracts with ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports Net will be up for
renewal in 2015.
“That’s the year we’ve got the leverage,” Dodds said. “It will
be the Big 12’s turn.”