At least as far as Texas is concerned, it will officially be on come Monday. Reportedly.
Both Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com and Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman are reporting that the UT Board of Regents will authorize president William Powers to, as Bohls writes, “act in [the school's] best interest in picking its conference.”
It was announced Friday that a special meeting of the UT Board of Regents had been scheduled for Monday, with the main item on the agenda being the “discussion and appropriate action regarding delegation to act on matters related to athletic conference membership.” Oklahoma’s regents have a meeting earlier the same day with a very similar agenda, and could authorize its president to pursue a similar conference tack.
Brown reports that OU will indeed give their president, David Boren, a similar directive as UT will give Powers
As far as UT is concerned, they appear to have four options when it comes to their future conference affiliation:
- Stay in the Big 12 and help rebuild the beleaguered conference after the departure of Texas A&M and the possible withdrawal of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State for the Pac-12. The Longhorns have publicly stated their desire to remain part of their current conference, but are obviously and rightfully leaving all of their league options open
- Along with Texas Tech, follow the Oklahoma schools to the Pac-12, forming the first BcS superconference. Such a move would effectively end the Big 12 as it would also set the wheels in motion for Missouri to leave for either the Big Ten or SEC, with such a move leaving the Big 12 with just four members.
- Go the opposite direction and become a member of the ACC. Bohls had previously reported that a move by the Longhorns to the ACC should not be dismissed, and that the two sides have already held informal discussions on potential membership. An alliance with the ACC would also allow UT to continue their beloved Longhorn Network unchanged; a move to the Pac-12, for example, would likely result in LHN being “folded into” that conference’s collection of regional networks.
- Eschew a conference alliance altogether for football and become an independent. This appears to be the least likely option for the school, if for nothing more than the era of superconferences could very well be upon us with the crumbling of the Big 12, and UT would not want to be left behind in the conference arms race.
As we’ve stated on multiple occasions the past few days, we all should have a clearer picture of which direction both UT and OU may head come Monday. Whether that will be a good or bad thing for the Big 12 remains to be seen, although all the signs are pointing to a funeral in the not-too-distant future for the 15-year-old conference.