IRVING, Texas — If Oklahoma and Texas move their historic football rivalry away from October and the Texas State Fair, they'll do so without a push from the Big 12 Conference. So said commissioner Dan Beebe during the league's football media days Tuesday.
"The major consideration is to keep the traditions of the conference as well as we can, and the tradition of that game has been around the state fair," Beebe said. "I don't see that really being something that we would want to mess with.
"It's just too important to those institutions, this region and so forth."
With the impending departure of Nebraska and Colorado, the Big 12 does not plan to stage a football championship game after this season. To fill the void, Beebe has said the league likely will move one or two marquee games to the first Saturday in December.
But not OU-Texas.
"Unless they decide to do something differently, we're going to plan to continue to try to keep those traditions," Beebe said. "Just like Texas and Texas A&M tradition has been moved back to Thanksgiving Day.
"Institutions may change their minds, but I think we're looking at continuing what we've had traditionally in a lot of those relationships."
Beebe also spoke about other issues of conference realignment:
* Expansion. Beebe and Missouri athletic director Mike Alden both said there is no talk of adding schools.
"There's absolutely no interest at this point in looking to expand our membership," Beebe said. "If an institution in this region could bring great value, more value than what we would have to provide to them, was to step up and want to be a part of us, then maybe we'd have to look at it. But right now, there's no affirmative interest by our members in expanding whatsoever."
* Conference championship game. Beebe said there appears to be little support for a title game. The coaches overwhelmingly are against it, and the television networks have agreed to pay the Big 12 the same money even without the championship game.
"It's been a case where we play in the national championship more than any other conference, but we've also had a couple of occasions when we could have played in it an additional time and had the team that was headed for the national championship get beat in our championship game."
Among coaches, only Kansas State's Bill Snyder has expressed support for the game: "You see other conferences now that are moving in that direction that didn't have a championship. I think they see the value of it. I can understand both sides of the discussion, but it's ... been good for Kansas State."
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