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WHAT IF ARKANSAS LEAVES? SOUTHWEST CONSIDERING OPTIONS TO REMAIN STRONG

The Southwest Conference Wednesday considered ways to bolster the beleaguered conference in the wake of Arkansas' decision to weigh offers to join the Southeastern Conference.

The league's executive committee met amid speculation Oklahoma would also consider joining the SWC, that Texas and Texas A&M might also join the SEC and that Texas Tech could bolt for the Big Eight or Western Athletic Conference."We talked a good bit about the future adjustments or changes that may occur in the conference," SWC President James Vick said. "Clearly, we are concerned about whether Arkansas would stay in the conference, but we also looked at the future health of the conference in a changing world."

Committee members said they discussed an expansion of the nine-member league, revision of SWC schedules to encourage intersectional competition and possible changes in the revenue splits between conference members.

"We talked about adjustments that could be made in the conference to make it more attractive to all of us and particularly to Arkansas, A&M, Texas," said Texas Tech faculty representative Robert Sweazy. "We looked at some creative scheduling opportunities that might enhance television appearances both in football and basketball."

Vick said the committee also talked about changing the agreements under which member schools divide football gate receipts and money collected through television appearances, bowl games and NCAA basketball tournaments.

"Any of those could be adjusted if it was felt those were unfair and there was a perceived need to change," he said.

The panel, also composed of faculty representative Paul Rogers of Southern Methodist and Vick, and athletic directors John David Crow of Texas A&M and Frank Windegger of Texas Christian, will meet again in July in Dallas.

"I don't think there's really any reason for me to make a comment whether we want to stay or leave," Crow said. "We've been a member here for years and years and years."

Vick, vice president for students affairs at Texas, also sidestepped talk about the Longhorns departing.

"I would say everyone wants to try and keep Arkansas in the league," he said. "But I don't really sense panic or overreaction to what has been in the press."

Arkansas, the only non-Texas school in the SWC, has been in the league for 76 years. But the school announced Tuesday it has agreed to weigh any offers from the SEC, which is also considering independents Florida State and Miami for membership.

Sweazy said Texas Tech may seek membership in the Big Eight or WAC if Arkansas leaves.

Tim Allen, assistant commissioner of the Big Eight, said Tech had not contacted the conference.

Said Dean Cooper, administrative assistant for the WAC in Littleton, Colo.: "As far as we know, it's just one of the many rumors that are going around about conference realignment. There's been no concrete proposal."