Happy with its new future in the Big 12, University of Texas officials are not interested in a standing offer to join the Pac-10.
"The Pac-10 has always said, `If you want an invitation, you've got an invitation,' " Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds told The Dallas Morning News. "We just are not going to do that. We've got a commitment to the Big 12. It's an ethical commitment and it's the right thing to do."The Pac-10 again made overtures to Texas in the last few weeks as it prepared to invite Colorado, another soon-to-be Big 12 member.
Colorado coach Bill McCartney, who announced his resignation last month, said the school should follow Texas' lead.
"As far as I'm concerned, Colorado has committed itself to the Big 12, and that's all they ought to be talking about," McCartney told the Rocky Mountain News. "I like what Texas did. They made a strong statement. They said we're enthusiastic and committed to the Big 12. To me, that is the perfect response."
Pac-10 assistant commissioner Jim Muldoon told The Denver Post that conference officials would not have approached Colorado if they didn't think there was a chance to lure the school away from the Big Eight.
"I don't think an invitation would've been issued if there were not at least some interest," Muldoon said. "I'm sure some presidents have talked. It's not something that just dropped out of the blue."
The Colorado Board of Regents was scheduled to meet today to discuss the offer, but early signs indicate Colorado will stay committed to the Big Eight and the expanding Big 12.
"We have an ethical obligation," Colorado regent Jim Martin said. "We've bargained in good faith, and so we need to look long and hard at what our ethical obligation is."
Pac-10 officials called Texas president Robert Berdahl on Monday to tell him about Colorado's offer. Colorado has not been given a deadline to reply.
"We made certain that Texas knew about the invitation," Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It's our position that we have left open an opportunity for Texas to enter into serious conversations about membership at a time when it might be able to do so."
The Big 12, which begins in 1996, is a combination of the current Big Eight, of which Colorado is a member, and current Southwest Conference schools Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor.
Hansen said the Pac-10 did not have any other schools on its expansion wish list and that Colorado was the only school that has been officially invited to join.