The University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma gave their presidents permission to seek new conference affiliations, taking them a step closer to a possible departure from the Big 12, the Associated Press said.
Oklahoma President David Boren said he’s focused on keeping the school in the Big 12 or moving to the Pacific-12 Conference. Texas President Bill Powers said the process is “ongoing” without mentioning any possible future home for the Longhorns.
Boren and Powers got authority from the board of regents at their schools to pursue membership in a different conference. Oklahoma State’s regents have scheduled a special meeting for tomorrow to address the same topic.
Boren said if Oklahoma exits the Big 12, in-state rival Oklahoma State also will leave.
In preparation for the possible departure of Texas and Oklahoma, school and conference officials from the Big 12 and Big East conferences have held discussions on ways to merge their remaining members, AP said, citing an unidentified person involved in the negotiations. Big 12 and Big East officials didn’t return messages seeking comment.
The Big 12 this year lost the University of Nebraska to the Big Ten and the University of Colorado to the Pac-12, while Texas A&M accepted an invitation to the Southeastern Conference.
The Big East two days ago was informed that Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh will be leaving to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.