Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mu Chancellor Is Taking Deeper Look at Expansion

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mu Chancellor Is Taking Deeper Look at Expansion

Article excerpt

As many of those involved gush and prattle about the apparent impending addition of four Southwest Conference schools to the Big Eight, at least one concerned party remains skeptical.

"I want to emphasize that I'm not bad-mouthing this deal at all, and it may well be the best thing that ever happened to the Big Eight and those four other schools," Missouri Chancellor Charles Kiesler said. "But it's a complicated deal and we haven't treated it in a complicated way.

"We have very much a Show-Me State in the sense of the Board (of Curators) and legislators and so forth. If I went to the curators with a deal this complicated, with as many millions of dollars involved and said, `Trust me,' they'd give me my lunch pail and send me home."

Sketchy as the details seem to Kiesler, who says he is "very uncomfortable," they evidently are compelling to other conference members.

"There is every reason to do this," Kansas State President Jon Wefald said. "I can think of no reason not to do it."

And compelling enough to lure the prospective new conference members. On Thursday, Texas A&M's board of regents joined Baylor's in approving what Big Eight officials continue to call an "informal" invitation to join in 1996.

"We are proud to have been asked and are enthusiastic about joining a conference with these eight great universities," E. Dean Gage, A&M's interim president, told The Associated Press. "This new alignment not only offers new opportunities for all 12 universities in men's and women's intercollegiate athletics, but further establishes an even closer relationship in the areas of teaching, research and public service."

Regents from Texas and Texas Tech, the other two invitees, are likely to formally approve the informal offer by the end of today. And many consider the expanded league already to be in place.

"The Big Eight has strengthened itself tremendously," Pacific 10 executive director Tom Hansen told reporters. "And it could help bring stability to college sports. …

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