BYU in a conference with Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M?

That's a proposal being discussed by athletic directors of the Southwest and Big Eight conferences.According to a story in Sunday's Houston Chronicle, these talks are at least in the semi-serious stage and a formal proposal could be presented within the next 90 days.

"This is a solid option," one athletic director told the Chronicle. "I certainly wouldn't say it's pie in the sky. It's a viable option."

"There will be a lot more discussion at the NCAA Convention," one source said. "A lot of people think this is going to hit in February."

One athletic director willing to be quoted, Donnie Duncan of Oklahoma, told the Chronicle: "This has been discussed for at least a year now but just in general terms. I've not seen any formal information about how something of that type would fit together. I consider it in the discussion stage. But it has been discussed and discussed. Is it more serious than conversation? I would say so. AT&T must be loving it."

Texas Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds added, "There is a nervousness that everybody ought to be ready to go (before the Big 10 expands) and to have plans as far as to what each institution should do."

According to unidentified sources, the new league would include: BYU from the Western Athletic Conference, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State from the Big Eight, and the SWC's Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Rice, Houston, Southern Methodist and Texas Christian.

The Chronicle reported that the guidelines for the new league may be so expensive that four SWC schools, Houston, Rice, SMU and TCU, could be priced out of the competition.

Tim Allen, assistant commissioner of the Big Eight, told the Deseret News this morning that no talks are taking place at the conference level, that talks are at the school level and that "this is the time of year when all the rumors and stories pop up." Regarding BYU, he said, "I've been in the Big Eight for 10 years and talks about BYU predated that."

When asked about the possibility of realignment with television and bowl contracts expiring in 1995, he said, "There's no way our people are going to have our heads buried in the sand."

R.J. Snow, BYU vice president over athletics, when asked to comment on the Chronicle story, said, "I have not been involved or know of anybody (at BYU) who has been involved" with current realignment discussions in the Southwest and Big Eight conferences.

He added it's flattering to be mentioned in the talks and restated the school's position when realignment discussions have taken place in the past - that BYU is happy to be in the Western Athletic Conference but needs to keep its options open regarding future developments.

The Southwest Conference lost Arkansas to the Southeastern Conference two years ago and the Pac-10 has discussed Texas, Texas A&M and Colorado regarding expansion. Missouri is believed to be a target for Big 10 expansion. That has led to speculation that the Big Eight and Southwest Conferences would do some kind of merger or realignment to protect themselves.

*****

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

New conference?

Possible new members and conferences they're from:

WAC

BYU

Big Eight

Colorado

Iowa State

Kansas

Kansas State

Missouri

Nebraska

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State

Southwest

Baylor

Texas

Texas A&M

Texas Tech

Rice

Houston

Southern Methodist

Texas Christian