The Big 12 is exploring a possible alliance with the Atlantic Coast Conference and two other leagues for scheduling and marketing purposes and possibly even television partnerships, the Austin American-Statesman reported."It's a process of discovery that would provide some of the benefits of larger membership without actually adding members," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.He declined to name the other two conferences, but the Pac-12 Conference is presumed to be one of them because that 12-team league faces significant geographical obstacles to expansion.The Pac-12 and Big Ten had announced the framework for a similar alliance more than a year ago, but the arrangement didn't come to fruition.Bowlsby said the topic would probably be discussed during the two-day meetings of the Big 12 athletic directors that begin Monday in Irving but stressed that "certainly nothing is imminent" about a potential alliance.Notre Dame defenseTop administrators at Notre Dame decided within hours of hearing about the Manti Te'o dead girlfriend hoax that it did not involve a crime and within two days had concluded there was no NCAA violation, according to a letter sent by the university president to board of trustee members on Friday.The Rev. John Jenkins told trustees that despite "the unrelenting scrutiny of hundreds of journalists and countless others -- and repeated attempts by some to create a different impression-- no facts relating to the hoax have been at odds with what Manti told us" on Dec. 27-28.The letter was obtained Friday by The Associated Press from a university official who provided it on condition of anonymity because the internal workings are confidential.The eight-page document, including a four-page letter from Jenkins and a four-page outline of how Notre Dame handled the hoax, is both a defense and an explanation of the school's actions.TCU roundup Swimming and diving: TCU's men lost to visiting Texas 133-88 and the women lost 147-74 in a dual meet.TCU's Adam Szilagyi won the men's 100 backstroke, finishing in 49.05."We competed really well," TCU coach Richard Sybesma said. "We competed against one of the top programs in the country. We are where we need to be as we near the end of the season." Men's tennis: TCU rolled to a 7-0 victory over visiting UT Arlington (0-1). The Frogs (2-1) beat the Mavericks for the 20th time in 21 matches."I thought we did an excellent job of keeping our cool in the doubles when things got a little bit tight," TCU coach David Roditi said. "We continued to control our thoughts in the big moments."