The University of Houston was one of the biggest victims of the breakup of the old Southwest Conference, now two schools that dumped the Cougars in the 1990’s are lining up to have the school back in their company.
According to a report by the Sporting News, the University of Houston is getting major support from a major player in the expansion of the Big 12 — Texas Tech.
— RedRaiderSports.com (@RedRaiderSports) July 22, 2016
Speaking of partnerships, one big hurdle to UH’s inclusion in the Big 12 appears to have quickly fallen. That hurdle being its opposition to the University of Texas setting up a satellite campus in Houston, as the Austin American Statesmen is reporting.
Following that apparent assurance, Texas president Greg Fenves tweeted out his own support for the move. So did Texas governor Greg Abbott, who has a lot to say given the public nature of all the universities involved.
As we look at opportunities for Big 12 expansion, I support considering @UHouston for the conference. UH is a huge asset for Texas.
— Greg Fenves (@gregfenves) July 21, 2016
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 21, 2016
What isn’t completely clear is if Houston and Texas are indeed in the process of working out a deal for whatever is happening with the over 300 acres purchased in Houston by the University of Texas. Some believe a deal could be in the works, while others simply don’t have a clue as to what UT is planning on doing and therefore don’t see a deal needing to be done.
“I have talked to boosters of the university who have floated that concept,” said Rep. Garnet Coleman, a Democrat who lives five blocks from the University of Houston campus. “In these circumstances, people use the tools that they have, and that’s one of the tools the University of Houston has. All’s fair in love and war.
“They didn’t ask anybody before they came and did that,” Coleman added. “I’ve always said there’s a deal there. A deal could be made. It can be. This is not an impossible thing.”
On the other hand, another representative from Houston, John Whitmire, had a very different take.
“For anyone to think there’s a swap there, I say not only no, but hell no,” Whitmire said. “They are separate and apart. I have heard from at least four other UT universities that they are concerned about the diversion of resources from their institution to a proposed, very expensive, unpurposed site in UT-Houston.”
When the Big 12 decided it would be exploring expansion options, Houston was always considered a front runner to be added. Now it appears that all things are lining up for the Cougars to become a member of the league sooner, rather than later.
Then again, politics in Texas could derail just about anything at any time. Stay tuned because we could be in for a wild few weeks and months ahead inside Texas university politics.