College Confidential

Houston’s expansion bid earns thumbs-up from Texas

Houston could soon be celebrating Big 12 membership if league officials follow Thursday’s recommendations by two of the top administrators at the University of Texas.
Houston could soon be celebrating Big 12 membership if league officials follow Thursday’s recommendations by two of the top administrators at the University of Texas. AP

The University of Houston gained high-profile support in its candidacy to become a Big 12 member Thursday from two of the highest-ranking officials at the University of Texas.

Texas president Greg Fenves offered an endorsement of Houston’s candidacy on his Twitter account.

Fenves’ endorsement followed similar supportive tweets from two of Texas’ top elected officials: Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. But such support is not uncommon for politicians seeking to curry favor with voters for the next election.

It is notable from Fenves, who would cast Texas’ vote in regard to whether Houston is admitted as an expansion candidate. Under Big 12 bylaws, an expansion candidate would need eight votes from the 10 existing members for admission.

Fenves’ support soon was echoed by UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven, who reinforced the school’s position in regard to the Cougars’ candidacy.

Oklahoma president David Boren, chairman of the Big 12 board of directors, issued a statement in response to the Houston-based support of the Texas administrators. Boren said: “As chairman of the Big 12 conference, it is not appropriate for me to comment on the prospects of any individual university.”

Big 12 officials announced Tuesday that they are exploring expansion candidates with a possible two- or four-team expansion by the start of the 2017 football season.

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch

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