Big 12 lunch links: A&M's Byrne defends $16M loan

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said that the cost of improvements to his school's infrastructure was part of doing business.

Byrne told Brent Zwerneman of the San Antonio Express-News that his school desperately needed to upgrade facilities when he arrived in 2003.

"We inherited an aging infrastructure," Byrne said.

Those needs helped pave the way for a $16 million loan to the athletic department authorized by former A&M president Robert Gates over the fiscal years 2006 to 2009. It was split over four years and repayable over 10 years.

"He approached us and said when they were looking at the (financial) forecast, there was no way we could make it with the additional economic burdens we were facing," Byrne said Tuesday in his office. "We've had a plan for the last five years."

Interestingly, one avenue that Byrne never considered as a revenue source was selling title sponsorships to his facilities. Slapping a name on Kyle Field might have been seen as an expedient way to provide a little extra revenue, but Byrne knew better considering the tradition-steeped nature of his school.

"There are a lot of hot buttons for Aggies," Byrne said. "But I think if I tried renaming Kyle Field, I'd be leading a small parade out of College Station."

It's the same for these links. I'd never think about calling them anything other than what they are.

Merely the best compendium of daily news and notes from around the Big 12 conference.

Here are today's offerings.

  • The Williams and Hyatt Show blog finds no issue with Texas Tech's recent run of pillow-soft nonconference schedules.

  • The Oklahoman's John Rohde provides a video analysis of what veteran defensive coordinator Bill Young's return to Oklahoma State will mean to his alma mater.

  • Colorado associate AD David Plati's one-of-a-kind Plati-'Tudes has an interesting interview with Chris Schenkel Award-winning broadcaster Larry Zimmer and how Colorado's Big 12 money was divvied up from several different sources.

  • New Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman tells the Ames Tribune's Bobby La Gesse how he transitioned into coaching after an early career path set for broadcasting and why he joined Mensa.

  • Eric Sorrentino of the Lawrence Journal-World breaks down Nebraska in his swing through North Division teams.

  • Curtis Allen, coach at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., tells the Columbia Daily Tribune's Dave Matter that he expects Sheldon Richardson will attend Missouri in two seasons.

  • A bench warrant issued for the arrest of Nebraska I-back Quentin Castille has been lifted, Jon Nyatawa of the Lincoln Journal-Star reports.

  • The Tulsa World's Guerin Emig thinks that Texas-Texas Tech was the best game played in the Big 12 last season.

  • The Bryan Eagle's Robert Cessna writes that Mike Sherman is a big believer in covering all his bases. That's why he provided his minister, Chris Osborne, with an Aggie football helmet that the pastor wore to the pulpit during a recent sermon.

  • New Colorado defensive assistant Bob Foster explains to the Longmont Times' Patrick Ridgell why he ended his retirement to join Dan Hawkins' staff with the Buffaloes.

  • The newly renovated T. Boone Pickens Stadium at Oklahoma State will serve as the home for five of the eight Oklahoma state high school football championship games this year, the Muskogee Phoenix reports.