STILLWATER — Oklahoma State and Texas Tech agreed months ago that they would like to move their annual Big 12 football game to the Dallas area in 2009.
But more than a year after discussions about the move started the schools still haven't decided on a stadium -- the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium or the Cotton Bowl -- and OSU athletic director Mike Holder said time could be running out to get it done for next fall.
"I think it makes so much sense for us to play in Dallas and I think it'll happen sometime," Holder said this week. "I just can't tell you what year it will be. Every day we wait makes it more of a problem trying to get it done for 2009."
Holder said it's an issue because both schools would prefer that the game played early in the season. It is currently scheduled for Nov. 14 and has become difficult to move.
"A year ago we had a lot more options," Holder said. "We didn't have our full allotment of non-conference games so we could have played it earlier in the year, and we lost that. We finally had to do something about building a schedule for '09."
Texas Tech athletic director Gerald Myers agreed that eventually he would like to see the game played earlier in the season, but said if it can't be done for '09 "we can play (in Dallas) it when it's scheduled." But Myers admitted that even if the date doesn't move up, a decision on the venue will have to be made soon to move the game to Dallas by next year.
Holder gave a number of reasons why he'd prefer to play the game early in the season. He said he would like to play during the State Fair of Texas, which usually starts at the end of September and runs through the middle of October. Also, he said the game would generate more interest early in the year, "when everyone's record doesn't have many blemishes on it -- when hope springs eternal."
"Now for Texas and Oklahoma, which are historic powerhouses in college football, they're usually contending for championships later in the year," Holder said. "But for up-and-coming programs like us and Texas Tech, not every season's been successful. So ideally you'd probably kick off the conference season for both teams. Both of you are undefeated, everybody is energized about the prospects of what might happen that year."
But for now, the moving process is stuck in the same spot it was two months ago, which isn't all that different from where it was a year ago. OSU -- and its most prominent donor, Boone Pickens -- vocally prefer the new $1.1 billion stadium Jerry Jones is building in Arlington. Myers said the Red Raiders "do have some ties with the Cotton Bowl, but we haven't made a decision."
"There's some reluctance on the part of Texas Tech to not go -- there's a draw at the Cotton Bowl because one of their great supporters is on the board there," Holder said, referring to Dallas businessman John Scovell, who played quarterback at Tech and is on both the Tech board of regents and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association board. "There's a lot of tradition involved with the Cotton Bowl and they just made a lot of improvements there. I think they're both great places to play but I can't imagine anyone wouldn't prefer the newest, brightest, best stadium on the planet."
Myers wasn't willing to give an unequivocal opinion either way.
"We're still undecided," he said. "But I think neither one is out of the picture. The Cotton Bowl is in the picture."