First A&M, now Oklahoma considering Big 12 exit

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by CYNTHIA VEGA

WFAA

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 11:22 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 7 at 4:55 PM

DALLAS - The Southeastern Conference unanimously voted Tuesday night to accept Texas A&M as the 13th member of the SEC, and it appears that decision may have an effect on one of college football's oldest rivalries, as well as the Dallas economy.

Texas A&M's decision has led the University of Oklahoma to reconsider their commitment to the Big 12 beyond this year. On Friday, Oklahoma president David Boren said the Sooners had interest from other conferences.

That once again started speculation that Oklahoma may pack up and leave for the Pac-12. Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops didn't slow that momentum during a news conference Tuesday. He said a conference move could mean the end of the Red River Rivalry with the University of Texas.

"No one wants to hear that," Stoops said. "But life changes. If it changes, you have to change with it, to whatever degree."

Texas and Oklahoma have played each other annually since 1900 and began playing the game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in 1932. Ending the rivalry would be an instant and huge loss for the Dallas economy.

A report from 2008 showed the 2007 Red River Rivalry had a $30.2 million economic impact on the local economy, and $18 million of that stayed in Dallas County alone, according to a news release from the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau. That money goes towards both income tax revenues in the county, as well as in the pockets of local business owners.

There has been no final decision by Oklahoma to leave the Big 12 and nothing is imminent. Texas A&M's split from the Big 12 has illustrated how slow the process can be.

So for the time being, Dallas is left to prepare for this year's Red River Rivalry, to be played on Oct. 8. It remains to be seen whether it will be the final edition.

E-mail cvega@wfaa.com

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