Texas AD opposes Big 12 expansion, wants to keep Longhorn Network

IRVING, Texas -- Texas athletic director Mike Perrin said Wednesday that he would oppose Big 12 expansion and added "it would take a lot" for the school to give up the Longhorn Network.

"I think the prudent thing for us to do as a conference is stay where we are," Perrin said.

Perrin spoke after the first day of Big 12 meetings, which will run through the end of the week. The league's presidents are scheduled to congregate Thursday and Friday.

Oklahoma president David Boren, also the Big 12's board chairman, has been the league's most vocal advocate for expansion, the formation of a conference network and the addition of a conference championship game. Multiple times, Boren has termed the league "psychologically disadvantaged" without them.

Perrin, however, said that he doesn't see the need for the Big 12 to take any action on expansion this year.

"We have a really strong league when you look at the round-robin schedule," he said. "We had a team in the playoffs last year with Oklahoma. We could've had two teams (TCU and Baylor) in there the year before. I think the [Big 12] is well positioned on television. I think we're well positioned on the playoffs."

Perrin said that he likes the way the league is situated with all but one team operating out of the Central Time Zone. And he suggested that by expanding now, the Big 12 might limit its options down the line.

"We're probably going to see another round of alignment," he said.

Last month, Boren said that he favored expansion, only if it helped the league also create a conference network. The Big 12 and ACC are the only Power 5 conferences without one.

Boren, however, added that he didn't want the creation of a Big 12 network and dissolution of the Longhorn Network to come at the expense of Texas' bottom line. Texas receives an average of $15 million per year from the Longhorn Network, which is partially owned and operated by ESPN.

"I'm not out to get Texas," Boren said last month. "If we did something, you've got to make Texas financially whole. You can't expect them to give up $15 million ... unless [they're] compensated for that. Somehow, the conference has to get that $15 million back to them."

Perrin, however, said it would take much more than that for Texas to consider putting the Longhorn Network on the table.

"They have been great partners," Perrin said. "You have to look beyond athletic events. You have to look at branding ... the academic side of it, the Olympic sports, recruiting. There are a lot factors that go with the Longhorn Network far beyond the money. It's a very valuable asset we have. I'm not ever going to say something's never going to come about. But it would take a lot. ... It's my thought if there was any move, it would have to keep us whole. And that includes a lot of intangible value on the academic side and branding.

"My position is that we shouldn't disturb it."

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Wednesday he would push for the Big 12's presidents and chancellors to make a decision "one way or the other" on the issues of expansion, a network and a championship game by the end of the summer.

Even though the Big 12 currently has interim presidents at Texas Tech, Kansas State and Baylor, Bowlsby said he didn't think that would slow the process.

"Sometime later in the summer, I expect we'll get together," Bowlsby said. "And then we'll make some choices."