Legend has it, Baylor would not be in the Big 12 had it not been for former Texas governor Ann Richards.
As the story goes, the old Big 8 was set to add Texas and Texas A&M and become The Big 10 But Not That Big Ten. The name needed some work. But realignment drama reached the Texas capitol, and Richards, a Baylor graduate, and Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, a Texas Tech graduate, forced their schools’ way in as well.
History, as we know, has a way of repeating itself, as current Texas governor Greg Abbott is now throwing his political weight behind Houston’s inclusion into the Big 12.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 21, 2016
Abbott is a Texas graduate but lived and worked in Houston previously. And it’s, of course, the public university of the largest city in the state he governs.
How much Abbott’s support for the Coogs matters in the end remains to be seen, but his support marries that of Big 12 coaches’ in favor of Houston. For starters, the climate is different in Texas now than it was in the mid-90’s. Texas A&M already left for the SEC, and two of the four Lone Star squads in the Big 12 are privates.
Of course, there’s a chance Abbott’s support could be a massive jinx for Houston. Someone in the governor’s office famously tweeted congratulations to the Houston Astros for defeating the Kansas City Royals in last year’s American League Division Series only to see the Royals rally to defeat the Astros and win the World Series.
Update: Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick and University of Texas president Greg Fenves have also posted statements of support for Houston today.
— Dan Patrick (@DanPatrick) July 21, 2016
As we look at opportunities for Big 12 expansion, I support considering @UHouston for the conference. UH is a huge asset for Texas.
— Greg Fenves (@gregfenves) July 21, 2016