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Friday, September 22, 2023


UH involved in conference realignment chatter

Perhaps summer can’t be complete without UH getting pulled into the discussion of conference realignment.

The ongoing tug of war between Texas A&M and Texas over The Longhorn Network threatens to drastically alter the look of the Big 12. UT wanted to take advantage of an untapped market by airing high school football games. A&M is adamantly opposed to that notion and is positioning itself for a move to the Southeastern Conference.

With the Aggies itching for a spot in the SEC, it is the Cougars who could benefit. Brent Zerneman of the Houston Chronicle reported today that the Big 12 considers UH a potential replacement if A&M leaves.

Last summer State Rep Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) along with 27 other members of the legislature wrote a letter to the Big 12 asking them to consider the inclusion of UH.

Coleman also made a Facebook group called “University of Houston Should Join The Big 12.” The group has more than 4,800 members. After a year of relative inactivity, the page has been abuzz with the recent rumors.

Texas Christian took the first chance it got to upgrade from the Mountain West Conference to the Big East. While UH would likely welcome an invite from the Big East, it is an upgrade to the Big 12 that is more logical.

TCU will play many of its away games against schools like Connecticut, Pittsburgh and West Virginia. That creates a logistical challenge for athletes, having to travel long distances across the country to compete.

The Big 12 transition wouldn’t be as difficult for UH. The Cougars would go from travelling to Conference USA schools like SMU, Tulane and UTEP to Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma.

The long-term future of the Big 12 is a valid concern, but nonetheless a step up from C-USA. A coveted spot in a  BCS conference will likely be greeted with open arms.

Like A&M will have to acclimate to the SEC, UH would have to do the same in the Big 12. The Cougars would take some licks for several seasons adjusting to the level of competition.

Expediting the process of new facilities might also be an issue. Sam Khan of the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that UH has raised $51 million for a new football stadium. Approximately $30 million more is needed to begin construction. A move to the Big 12 would probably increase sense of urgency.

-John Brannen

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