Powers Expresses ‘Delight’ That Big 12 Will Stay Together

In the wake of  the Pac-12’s announcement that it wouldn’t expand, UT President Bill Powers broke his recent silence on the conference realignment saga. Powers took questions from a full herd of reporters at the Capitol today. Here’s exactly what was said:

Q: We haven’t heard from Texas yet since the Pac 12 decision … Sir, your thoughts?

A: Well, we’re delighted. We are absolutely delighted that the [Big 12] will stay together. We’ve been working very hard to get to this point. And we think that this is very good for the student-athlete.

Q: There have been reports that there were discussions going on that, essentially, Texas wanted to stick to its model and the Longhorn Network and the conference out there said, “We really can’t make that work.” Can you comment on that?

A: What conference said?

Q: The Pac 12.

A: I’m going to have to honor confidences in conversations. I have to deal with people in the future. I think it’s important that when we have conversations that they’re private conversations and it’s not for me to talk at length as to what goes on in those conversations. I’ll just say I do not believe that was a significant issue.

Q: As far as the future of the Big 12 is concerned, address the stability question, because there seems to be still some harsh words coming from other schools, some of it directed at Texas. Can you get this smoothed out and have a stable conference?

A: Well, that’s job one. [A&M made a choice to leave] and I think the conference was ready to deal with that.  And that takes work to go through those decisions. We were in the process of that when Oklahoma and Oklahoma State indicated that they were very interested in leaving. I kind of put all of that on hold. And now the conference is going to continue and, as I said, we’re delighted about that. We need to return to all those issues. We really haven’t focused on them over the last month and a half because we’ve been focusing on what Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were doing and how the conference would react to that and now all of those issues, we’ll have to return to.

Q: This upheaval a year ago, you were pleased when the Big 12 stayed glued together. Upheaval again, now. What’s to say it won’t happen again? And what do you do to keep that from happening?

A: It’s important to get stability in the conference. [It’s] probably job one for the conference. There are methods of doing that, including the way that media deals are structured, and we’ll be working with our partners in the Big 12 and our media partners to structure something that has stability, going forward. It is true there has been upheaval, but it’s true that, in some ways, the conference was strong enough to survive those upheavals. We do not want upheavals on a periodic basis and getting stability is going to be important. And we’ll be working with our partners. And it’s not for us to decide what those methods will be. It’s for the conference together to work out ways of having confidence and stability to move forward.

Q: Are you suggesting changes in revenue sharing?

A: Well, we’ve been talking about a lot of these issues that you hear in the paper whether it’s revenue sharing or [other issues]. We will continue to work on those. I’m not going to pre-judge how those will come out. There aren’t any pre-conditions. So the conference coming back together, the important thing is the conference needs to get back together and then move forward on all of the issues.

Q: Is Texas open to the idea of revenue sharing?

A: We’re not going to comment on particular issues. We have been open to every idea and we’ve had discussions about that and we have never said that’s off the table and, in fact, again, going back to discussions that I’m not at liberty to talk about, there aren’t any issues that were taken off the table. We want a stable, workable conference, going forward.

Q: Last Question: Do you need additional schools in the conference? If so, how many? Which ones might you desire?

A: Remember yesterday when Senator Washington was talking about the chicken and the egg?

Q: I vaguely recall that.

A: I’m not sure whether this is a chicken or an egg. I guess that’s been a question for a long time. Did the chicken come before the egg? But, those issues are for the conference to work out and we will work with the conference to answer those questions. We don’t have answers to them. And it’s not for us to give answers to them, as far as they have input in the conference decision-making.

Q: It has been reported that Texas is meeting with Oklahoma in the next few days. Are you planning to meet with them to iron out some differences?

A: I don’t have any meetings scheduled. I’ve been on the phone with almost all of our presidents on a regular basis. I don’t know of a meeting on my schedule like you’re describing.


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