THE BIG CONVERSATION:
News outlets across the state are likely to be trumpeting a certain Frankenstein refrain this morning. It's, yes, alive — the Big 12 Conference, that is. And it appears to be here to stay.
Virtually left for dead over the weekend, the Big 12 shot back to life Monday evening as a 10-team, Texas-heavy contingent (yes, 10 teams in the Big 12). Reports indicate that lucrative TV deals lured Texas and Texas A&M back into the league, from which both were said to be bolting in favor of larger — and potentially more dynamic — college football conferences.
Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe reportedly dangled a multimillion-dollar TV deal — expected to double universities' revenue — in front of Texas and Texas A&M to win them back. University of Texas President William Powers Jr. was said to have taken the deal Monday, and Texas A&M soon followed suit, followed by Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, thereby resuscitating a league that just a week ago looked doomed with the confirmed departures of Nebraska and Colorado.
UT canceled a board of regents meeting set for today and will instead hold a press conference at 10 a.m. announcing the deal. Expect statements soon from the other schools, too.
As the realignment drama started to heat up earlier this month, the Tribune's Ross Ramsey noted that the political implications of college football — besides the subject's propensity to draw the attention of state university leaders in charge of institutions facing deep funding cuts — are sometimes hard to pin down. But "the best bet on stuff like this is that nothing will happen. Next best bet? Going into a tight budget, lawmakers will be looking for money. And distractions," Ramsey wrote. "Sports are distractions."
- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott went to court Monday to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency, which he says is engaging in "improper overreach" in its attempts to reject state efforts to regulate air quality.
- The Big 12 isn't the only thing to rise from the ashes as of lately. Voter ID drama is back as the 2011 legislative session looms.
- In a follow-up to the recent Houston Chronicle/Texas Tribune joint project, the Chronicle's Terri Langford and the Tribune's Emily Ramshaw report that the state has stopped placements at a Houston-area residential treatment center in response to news of a "fight-club" incident and sexual abuse.
"It's going to be a funny year. Democrats are running away from Obama to the extent they feel the need to compare Republican candidates to Obama, but voters are smarter than Democrats think." — Stefani Carter, a Republican Texas House candidate whom Democrats are accusing of plagiarizing Barack Obama
No More Valley Carve-Out? — The Texas Tribune
Appeals court declines to halt Powell execution, Austin American-Statesman
New Texas rule aims to reduce the pain of power outages — Fort Worth Star Telegram