Texas a package deal in expansion

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Texas is the belle of the expansion ball. The only question is, will the Pac-10 be its escort, or will the Big Ten swoop in at the last minute?

Such is the power of the Longhorn state.

As news surfaced Thursday about the Pac-10 poised to invite six Big 12 schools – Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado – to join its ranks, the Columbus Dispatch ran a revealing story about Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee’s correspondence with Texas President William Powers.

It seems Texas won’t go anywhere by itself.

“I did speak with Bill Powers at Texas, who would welcome a call to say they have a ‘Tech’ problem,” Gee wrote in an e-mail to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

The problem, as outlined by the Dispatch is this: Texas, Texas A&M and Tech are state-sponsored schools. However, Texas and A&M are members of the Association of American Universities, an alliance of research schools. Tech is not. And that doesn’t sit well with the Big Ten. However, Texas doesn’t want to ditch Texas Tech.

“I think it’s a political issue,” Don Hale, Texas vice president for public affairs, told the Dispatch. “Because they’re state institutions, I think the concern is that one can’t move without the others.”

What to do? If the Big Ten really wants the prettiest girl at the dance, it may have to settle for the whole family, warts and all. Sometimes, you gotta make those compromises.

(Or you could just take the entire Big 12. Now that would be a mind-blower.)

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.