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Texas, Texas A&M getting in on the expansion discussion

AP Sports Writer

    AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas regents will meet next week to decide whether the Longhorns will remain in the fast-disintegrating Big 12 or switch to another conference.
    The regents announced Friday that they will hold a meeting in Austin for "discussion and appropriate action regarding athletic conference membership."
    The future of the Big 12 is in jeopardy after Nebraska said Friday it wants to join the Big Ten and Colorado agreed Thursday to jump to the Pac-10. The Pac-10 is also reportedly interested in inviting Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech to form a 16-team league.
    Texas is considered the lynchpin to the Big 12's survival.
    Longhorns athletic director DeLoss Dodds has said he wants to keep the Big 12 together. It was not immediately clear if scheduling the regents meeting meant those efforts have failed.
    "Our goals and hopes all along have been to keep the Big 12 Conference intact," Dodds said in a statement. "The league has been great for its members. We also have been honorable, up front and forthright with regard to our work and responsiveness to all the possible and now definitive changes to conference landscapes."
    "We are entrusted with the responsibility of administering our university athletics programs. That requires careful examination of any and all options. It is both premature and inappropriate to speculate on what our UT System Regents will discuss at next Tuesday's meeting. But, as the dynamics of the Big 12 continue to change around us, we will utilize additional time to continue our work and evaluate our options."
    A telephone message left with the Big 12 was not immediately returned.
    A spokesman for the Texas regents said the nine members would not comment before the meeting. Texas president William Powers Jr., was out of town Friday and unavailable for comment, but would be at Tuesday's meeting, spokesman Don Hale said.
    Texas would need the regents' approval to change leagues. The meeting is required to be publicly posted 72 hours in advance, which would give Dodds the weekend to keep working if he thinks the Big 12 is still salvageable.
    Texas A&M, which is reported to be considering a move to the Southeastern Conference, has not scheduled a regents meeting.
    A&M president R. Bowen Loftin told The Associated Press on Friday that the school was content to stay in the Big 12, but the rapid changes are forcing A&M to consider other options.
    "We're still working through the issues," Loftin said. "We're also waiting to see what happens with other schools. We were very happy to stay in the Big 12, the way it was. It's changing now, and we need to figure out what that means.
    "The Big 12 is not what it was, and we have to think about its future, and ours."
    Loftin would not comment on speculation that A&M is considering moves to the SEC or the Pac-10, or say if the school was leaning toward one league over another.
    "We have not made any decisions at this point in time," he said. "I can say that the first consideration in any decision involving conference realignment is the athletes' well-being. Geography has to be a part of the equation, and then, maintaining a strong academic program and keeping that in place will be paramount.

OSU wants to stick with texas
    OKLAHOMA CITY — When Big 12 teams are done shuffling, Oklahoma State officials are hopeful they'll still be united with national powerhouse Texas.
    Colorado became the first Big 12 team to leave when it decided Thursday to join the Pac-10 Conference. Oklahoma State is one of five other Big 12 teams that may also head to the Pac-10, but the key factor appears to be what the Longhorns do.
    In an e-mail to University of Texas system regent Robert L. Stillwell last week, OSU athletic director Mike Holder wrote: "We just want to be with Texas when the dust settles!"
    Stillwell is linked to Oklahoma State through longtime associate T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire alumnus who has donated millions of dollars to both schools.
    Pickens provided the lion's share of the funding for a $286 million overhaul to the Cowboys' football stadium, including new weight rooms and luxury suites. He also promised $100 million to two University of Texas medical centers in 2007, with the caveat that they must grow the donation to $500 million in 25 years or else send any interest on the initial gift to OSU.
    "We've certainly invested heavily to be competitive in the conference," university president Burns Hargis said. "But if all of this noise turns out to be real, I think we have options thanks to the investments we've made at OSU."
P    ickens is not mentioned by name in any of the e-mail exchanges released to The Associated Press on Friday after an open records request. Another e-mail from Holder to Stillwell last week states: "Looks like Texas may be headed to Pac-10. ... Just lucky that OSU will get to join you if push comes to shove. Pays to have friends!"

welcomes Boise
    LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — President Tom Buchanan says the University of Wyoming is delighted to have Boise State join the Mountain West Conference.
    The Idaho school on Friday accepted an invitation to become the 10th member of the Mountain West. Boise State plans to leave the Western Athletic Conference and join the Mountain West effective July 1.
    In the past four years, Boise State has gone 49-4, won three WAC titles and won two Fiesta Bowls.
    Buchanan says the Bronco football team will be a major attraction for Wyoming football fans.
    He says Wyoming also looks forward to competing with the Broncos in other sports.