Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune reported late Wednesday that BYU officials have had discussions with Big 12 officials within the past week about joining the league. The talks have included ESPN and there has been input from Notre Dame representatives. BYU, which left the Mountain West to become a football independent, has an eight-year deal with ESPN and a six-game series scheduled with the Fighting Irish.
Some of the discussions, according to the report, involve BYU joining the Big 12 for football only. The rest of the school's teams would compete in the West Coast Conference, an arrangement that was agreed to when the Cougars left the Mountain West. Latter-day Saints officials are said to be hesitant about breaking their new relationship with the WCC.
Cougar fans were also tracking a private jet on Wednesday that left from an airfield near Big 12 headquarters north of Dallas. The aircraft landed in Provo, but a Big 12 spokesperson told the Tribune that he was "not aware" of any Big 12 officials on the private jet.
As for Texas A&M, its move to the Southeastern Conference is expected to be made official next week. The Aggies are hoping to play football in the SEC next season.
A few twists and turns before Texas A&M announces its intention to leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference.
SEC presidents and chancellors announced Sunday that the league has no plans to expand from its current 12 teams, but the SEC is merely covering its arse on this one. The league wants to clearly establish that it was first contacted by Texas A&M about a move to avoid possible litigation from the Big 12 and its TV partners (ABC/ESPN and Fox).
On Monday afternoon, regents are expected to grant Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin authority "to take all actions related to athletic conference alignment." On Tuesday, Loftin will then attend a House Committee on Higher Education hearing in Austin, where he is expected to tell lawmakers about the benefits of A&M joining the SEC, including more national exposure and equal revenue sharing.
After that, Loftin will make the formal request for admission into the SEC, which is expected to be accepted by SEC commissioner Mike Slive. That process could take up to three weeks. The Aggies plan to join the SEC for 2012 football season.
It all comes at a cost. Texas A&M's exit fees for leaving the Big 12 could reach $30 million, according to a Big 12 official who spoke with Orangebloods.
Follow my Twitter feed for updates on the story throughout the next couple of days.
The Texas A&M Board of Regents has called a meeting for Monday where it is expected to end its 15-year union with the Big 12, according to Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News.
The move would clear the way for the Aggies to become a member of the Southeastern Conference. School officials are hoping to begin play in the SEC in 2012.
Zwerneman writes that SEC officials plan to meet this weekend "to essentially rubber-stamp A&M's admittance."
Adding the Aggies will boost the SEC's membership to an unbalanced 13 teams, and the league is expected to add another member. Florida State appears to be at the top of the list. The Palm Beach Post reported Friday that Florida State has been in discussions with SEC officials for several months.
"This is real," a source close to Florida State told the newspaper.
The Wiz of Odds is conducting a comprehensive study of bowl game expense reports. All of the data collected — expense reports for 56 teams and bowl surveys for 40 teams — are being posted on the site. Here is the latest installment. For an overview of the project, click here.
The nonprofit Cotton Bowl Athletic Association operates the Cotton Bowl, first played in 1937, making it the fifth-oldest bowl game.
2011 participants: Louisiana State and Texas A&M.
LSU expenses: The school reported only 97 absorbed tickets at a cost of $12,950. The biggest reported expense came from additional compensation and fringe benefits, which totaled $586,740. The school gave no other details. Download Louisiana State Expenses
LSU's travel party numbered 741, 10th highest among the 56 teams whose expense reports were obtained by The Wiz of Odds.
Survey: LSU did not provide a bowl survey to The Wiz of Odds.
Texas A&M expenses: The Aggies reported only 17 absorbed tickets at a cost of $2,125. The biggest expense listed was administrative, totaling an off-the-chart $773,542, easily the highest administrative cost of the 56 bowl reports obtained by The Wiz of Odds. The school did not disclose why those costs were so high. Download Texas A&M Expenses
Survey: Athletic director Bill Byrne answered either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" to each question on the survey. He gave bowl officials high marks for their use of technology.
"Bowl manual was well organized and easy to find answers to questions," Byrne wrote. "Having Manual [sic] on ipads [sic] made it easier to carry with you and have the ability to answer questions for various groups."
Sports Business Journal annually tracks what gifts bowls give to players. The Cotton Bowl declined to reveal what they would present to the players, but Byrne let the world know when he wrote this comment: "The student-athletes were very happy with the Ipad [sic]." (It's iPad)
Byrne did have one suggestion when asked what the bowl could do to improve the experience.
"Area to improve …. The driver pool (group that provides transportation). Drivers didn't know directions to stadium or other locations from hotel and would get lost, causing delays," he wrote. Download Texas A&M Survey
Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini has issued an apology for a postgame incident involving Brandon Jones, owner of TexAgs.
"I apologize for the events that occurred after Saturday night's game at Texas A&M," Pelini said in a statement. "It was a very emotional situation and the mob scene on the field after the game amplified that.
"Having been involved in a similar situation in 2003 at Missouri, and in witnessing the situation on the field, I made a poor decision in trying to prevent a reporter from recording the scene. I have acknowledged this from the very beginning. Unfortunately, in trying to prevent a scene, I created one."
Jones, in a post on TexAgs, said that he had spoken with and received and apology from Carl Pelini and his brother, coach Bo Pelini.
"Contrary to some speculation, TexAgs.com's motivation in reporting this incident was never punitive or financial. Certainly, at no point were we interested in creating a prolonged ordeal.
"Given the nature of what occurred and the subsequent events and statements, we had two primary interests: A public telling of the truth and an acknowledgement that what happened was not acceptable. We are satisfied that both have been achieved, and we consider the matter resolved."