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The president of the University of Pittsburgh confirmed Friday that he had held informal conversations with his counterparts at Big Ten schools about the possibility of joining the conference.

The announcement came at the end of the week in which the Big Ten voted to admit Pitt's intrastate rival Penn State as the 11th member. The conference also declared a four-year moratorium on further expansion.In a statement, Pitt President Wesley Posvar said: "The University of Pittsburgh, with all the Big Ten and Penn State, are members of the American Association of Universities. Hence, they have high academic standards and similar, very comprehensive programs.

"Obviously, the possibility of Pitt someday having affiliation with the Big Ten has come up informally among us presidents, but there is nothing more to report," Posvar said.

Part of Pitt's appeal to the Big Ten would be its membership in the AAU, said Purdue President Steven Beering. The organization consists of 58 public and private schools that specialize in research.

"The first consideration is the AAU" for Big Ten membership," Beering said. "Athletic reform is very important on our minds."