Texas Lawmakers Draft Bill To Require Approval Of Conference Realignment: ‘This Is About Much More Than College Sports’

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Texas state lawmakers have voiced concerns to Gov. Greg Abbott about the Texas Longhorns leaving the Big 12, and drafted a bill requiring legislative approval of conference realignment.

Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee and attended Texas A&M; Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), who received his law degree and MBA from Texas Tech and chairs the House Calendars Committee; Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano), who chairs the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence and was a student body president at Baylor; and Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and a former TCU athlete, met with Abbott’s staff Thursday, according to The Texas Tribune.

Three of the influential Texas state lawmaker’s names — Bonnen, Burrows and Leach — were attached to a bill requiring legislative approval of conference realignment, Saturday Down South reports.

Leach said the state legislature has an obligation to be involved in Texas potentially leaving the Big 12 for the SEC in a series of tweets.

“The lack of transparency by our flagship institution is wrong,” Leach tweeted. “Such a monumental economic and educational decision impacting the entire state must not be made in a bubble on the forty acres. Working on legislation requiring legislative approval for UT to bolt the BIG XII.”

Leach said this is about much more than college sports.

” … The impact UT’s decision would have on communities & businesses all across Texas would be real, substantial and potentially devastating,” he tweeted. “On behalf of those concerned Texans, the Texas Legislature has an obligation to be involved.”

Sen. Brian Birdwell filed a companion bill to the bill filed by Burrows, which would require legislative approval before a public senior college or university can change membership in a collegiate athletic conference.

“This legislation would inhibit the proposed move of the University of Texas to the SEC without legislative approval,” Birdwell said in a statement. “Such a move would negatively impact other Big 12 schools in our state like Baylor, TCU, and Texas Tech. These schools and their surrounding communities heavily depend on the financial income that BIG 12 football provides.”

“The University of Texas is an agent of the state and is ultimately making an economic decision solely focused on their own welfare,” Birdwell said. “What is best for the University of Texas may not be best for the state as a whole. The legislature represents the best interest of the state. Therefore, this decision cannot be made independently without legislative approval. This bill is the necessary course of action to avoid universities making decisions that are for their betterment but to the detriment of the state.”

Follow Meg Turner on Twitter @Megnturner_ and Instagram @Megnturner.

Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


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  1. So basically what these yahoos are saying to the other Texas schools in the Big 12 is, you guys are completely irrelevant without the Longhorns in your league. Thanks for the words of encouragement guys.

    • Agreed. A&M would be happy, SEC still gets most of why it wants minus the headaches that follow the Longhorns. Oklahoma state legislature won’t get involved crafting similar bills. Strike while the iron is hot and chaos is building. OU and OSU to the SEC!

    • LOL, yeah okay that’s funny. Texas women’s softball generates more money than all of OSU athletics. Seriously OSU cannot even hold a candle to the number one revenue-generating university in America. Follow the money, that’s why UT and OU want into the SEC so they don’t have to drag other universities along with them.

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