Texas and the Big 10: Reports say Texas will stay

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What will Texas do?

Conflicting reports Monday show just how unpredictable the conference expansion game has become. Orangebloods.com says Texas is going to stay in the Big 12 and could announce a decision as early as today. The site reports part of the plan that has convinced Texas to stay in the 10-member Big 12 would allow schools to decide their own distribution platforms, including networks, rather than turn over all inventory to the conference, as the Pac-10 mandates.

ESPN.com reports that the departures of Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to the Pac-10 is "imminent," citing four sources. That report said Texas' decision is expected to come no later than Tuesday.

So which will it be, and how solid are the reports?

Hard to tell at this point. The story is completely fluid and has seemingly changed every hour. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe did spend the weekend trying to lobby Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma to stay in a 10-team league.

He told them a new cable TV deal could earn each team $17 million, which is close to what all 12 SEC schools just received in the first year of its megadeals with ESPN and CBS. Texas would be able to start its own network, which it has wanted to do for several years. That would not be possible if it goes to the Pac-10, which wants to start a network of its own.

There would no longer be a championship game, which works in Texas' favor because it has never been a fan of it. Texas would truly be king of the Big 12 if it stayed.

But already the finger is being pointed at Texas A&M as the potential renegade to put the final nail in the Big 12 coffin. The Aggies are exploring interest from the SEC. If they decide they don't want to stay in the Big 12, the chances for league survival are minimal. Then the blame for the destruction of the league can be pointed at Texas A&M and Nebraska, which bolted for the Big Ten on Friday.

Colorado has joined the Pac-10, essentially leaving Texas and company with decisions to make. Texas and Texas Tech have board of regents meetings set for Tuesday. Oklahoma has one set for Wednesday. The Texas Legislature plans to hold hearings on expansion Wednesday to discuss the ramifications for state teams if the Big 12 implodes.

Beebe told Orangebloods.com on Sunday, "My plan is about what's best for the citizens in this part of the country and for the student-athletes and not having this section of the country with all its major institutions connected to conferences that aren't even here. We shouldn't be a fly-over zone."

Andrea Adelson can be reached at aadelson@orlandosentinel.com. Read her blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/collegegridiron365.

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