STILLWATER — Nebraska reportedly has decided to accept an invitation to join the Big Ten, increasing the probability that Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Colorado will bolt to the Pac-10.
"Everyone wants Nebraska to stay in the (Big 12) conference, Oklahoma State included,” Cowboys athletic director Mike Holder said Wednesday night, declining to comment on whether OSU was heading to the Pac-10. College athletics is on the cusp of realignment thanks to high-dollar television contracts fueled by football. Throughout discussions, little consideration has been given to other sports, a territory where the Oklahoma State Cowboys consistently have excelled for 90 years. OSU ranks fourth nationally in all-time NCAA Division I team championships with 49, trailing only UCLA (107), Stanford (99) and Southern California (91). These totals do not include football, which does not have a playoff sanctioned by the NCAA. The Cowboys have 34 national titles in wrestling, 10 in men's golf, two in men's basketball, two in men's cross country and one in baseball. Non-revenue sports have long been a source of pride at OSU, but they don't pay the bills. Football and men's basketball hadcombined revenue of $37,588,918 during the 2008-09 school year. Revenue for all other sports combined was $1,643,299. Football pays the freight in athletics, and the Cowboys soon could be headed west in conference play. If Pac-10 expansion becomes reality, conference competition will ratchet up for the Cowboys in several sports, but not all. Six-time defending Big 12 champion Kansas would be out of the mix in men's basketball. Women's basketball also would dip in its overall degree of difficulty. "I'm trying to not even think about it, because obviously it's something I can't control,” OSU men's basketball coach Travis Ford said. "We'd love the Big 12 to stay the way it is. Either way, I don't think we lose. We hope the Big 12 stays intact. It's a great league. We've proven ourselves as a basketball league, the No. 1 league in the country this past year, a big-time league. So we'd love for it to stay intact and think it should stay intact.” In the league's 14-year history, every Big 12 school has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in men's and women's basketball. "I grew up in Big Eight territory and I think we're the greatest conference in America in the Big 12,” said Cowgirls basketball coach Kurt Budke, who was born in Salina, Kan. "I would just love for us to stay together. I'd hate to see it break up.” Budke said he is maintaining a wait-and-see attitude toward realignment and no news would be good news. "I just don't feel comfortable talking about that right now because I'm someone who really doesn't want to see (any changes) happen,” Budke said.