Well, the expansion game just got a bit more muddled. Reports all this week have seemed to indicate that the Big Ten is pursuing Nebraska as its first acquisition, with teams such as Mizzou, Notre Dame, or Big East members Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse to follow.
Earlier this week the Pac-10 announced plans to poach six schools from the Big 12, but so far only Colorado has officially accepted that league’s invitations.
Now, KCTV in Missouri is reporting that Texas and Texas A&M may be looking to accept an invitation to the Big Ten as early as next week.
High level sources in multiple conferences have told KCTV5 that Texas and Texas A&M are looking to move to the Big Ten Conference and are in talks to join the conference, while the University of Oklahoma is planning on petitioning the Southeastern Conference to become a member of its conference.
KCTV5’s sources said that Texas and Texas A&M do not have to include Texas Tech or Baylor in their plans. Sources told KCTV5 that there have already been discussions about the two schools entering the Big Ten and that the agreement could be made as soon as Thursday.
Oklahoma is currently working on petitioning to enter the SEC, but must find another university to enter the league with them, sources said.
Now, obviously, one has to look at little skeptically at a report that only lists unnamed “high level sources” for information. Especially when that report appears to be rather different from all of the previous news. Then again…. it was unnamed sources who first leaked the moves of Nebraska and Colorado out of the Big 12.
The University of Texas has always been the great white whale of the Big Ten, perhaps even more so than Notre Dame, ever since expansion talks began in earnest for the conference last fall. Previously, though, the sticking point had been that Texas wanted to stay in the same conference as Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Baylor to preserve their in-state rivalries.
Neither Texas Tech or Baylor are in the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of research universities to which all of the members of the Big Ten belong. The conference had previously indicated that it wouldn’t want to accept members who were not members of the AAU, to preserve its reputation for academic excellence.
Texas and Texas A&M, are, however, members of the AAU. It is possible that the recent NCAA punishment of USC has dimmed the light around the Pac-10 in the eyes of Texas and Texas A&M, and they are now considering jumping ship from the Big 12 without bringing Tech or Baylor along with them.