Boone Pickens wants TCU to replace Texas A&M in the Big 12. But the conference apparently is looking elsewhere for potential replacements for the Aggies.
The Kansas City Star reported Thursday that the Big 12 had contacted Brigham Young, and CBSSports.com reported that the Big 12 has shown interest in Air Force.
“If I was running the conference, I'd quickly go to TCU,” Pickens told The Oklahoman. The Oklahoma State benefactor, who has deep ties to the state of Texas, worked to keep A&M in the conference but failed.
TCU, which last season went 13-0 and won the Rose Bowl, is leaving the Mountain West Conference and will join the Big East next season.
The Horned Frogs naturally would prefer to be in the Big 12, but Pickens said, “I don't think OU or Texas either one wants 'em.”
Last year, when Nebraska and Colorado left the Big 12, commissioner Dan Beebe said the league was not interested in adding schools within the Big 12's current geographic footprint. TCU is located in Fort Worth.
Amid speculation that OU, OSU and perhaps Texas Tech and Texas could jump to the Pac-12 to form the nation's first 16-team super conference, administrators worked to salvage the conference.
The Kansas City Star reported that both OU president David Boren and athletic director Joe Castiglione were working to keep the Big 12 intact.
Last Sunday, an OU plane flew to Columbia, Mo., and then to College Station, Texas. An OU source said the plane, with Boren, first picked up Missouri chancellor Brady Deaton, chairman of the Big 12 board of directors, then flew to Texas A&M in an effort to engage the Aggies.
But OU sources said Boren also is interested in the Pac-12, just as he was last summer, when that league courted the Sooners.
“I don't think it's necessarily a time for joy and optimism,” a Big 12 source said about the future of the conference. Referring to OU and Texas, the source said, “Certain institutions have more and different leadership roles. I don't know that either of those have taken a position.”