Texas-OU to stay at Cotton Bowl

From the Dallas Morning News tonight (registration required):

Mayor Laura Miller will announce Friday that the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma will continue to play their age-old annual football showdown in Fair Park’s Cotton Bowl – at least through 2015, city officials familiar with the announcement said Thursday.

Grambling University and Prairie View A&M University also will agree to play their annual game at the Cotton Bowl through 2015, the officials said. A news conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday on the Cotton Bowl’s 50-yard line.

If they don’t start it by 9:00:25 a.m., they have to move the press conference to the 45-yard-line due to the five-yard penalty for “delay of game.”

The schools’ new contracts, which several Dallas officials say will include hundreds of thousands of dollars in new city-funded incentives, ends months of speculation that they soon would leave the aging Cotton Bowl for other venues, including the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium in Arlington, 20 miles away.

…Several city officials confirmed that the deal tentatively calls for Dallas government in 2008 through 2011 to provide Texas and OU with a combined $850,000 in direct annual subsidy, up from the current $250,000 grant. Grambling and Prairie View together would receive $150,000, up from $50,000, the officials said.

In 2012, Texas and OU together would receive an additional $150,000 annually, according to the officials’ understanding of the contract. They added that Grambling and Prairie View would receive more money in 2012, although they did not know how much.

At least initially, the money would come from a standing $700,000 annual subsidy to the organizers of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, which will vacate its namesake stadium in two years. AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic president Rick Baker declined comment, pending the official announcement.

Such numbers are inherently tentative, since the Dallas City Council must vote to approve any contract agreement.

The new stadium in Arlington is a more attractive choice for the Cotton Bowl Classic, since their game is not timed to coincide with the Texas State Fair. It’s to be built entirely out of magic glass, with a 60-yard-long jumbotron scoreboard hovering over the field, supported solely by Jerry Jones’s ego.

The City of Dallas wants to hold several high-profile games at the stadium every year, especially during the state fair:

Several colleges who don’t currently play at the Cotton Bowl have for months been considering playing annual or periodic football there, wooed by State Fair of Texas, business and city officials. The schools include Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, the University of Notre Dame, Oklahoma State University, Baylor University and Louisiana State University, State Fair officials say.

“Hey, OU plays there every year – we should too! What? What inferiority complex? Huh? Is it time to wave yet?”

City and State Fair officials have also expressed hope of attracting college football conference championship games and international-class soccer contests to a Cotton Bowl renovated with a new video scoreboard, seats, lights, team and media facilities and a host of other improvements. The stadium’s capacity will also increase from about 76,000 to more than 90,000, officials say.

I have a life-size picture of the annual OSU-Baylor game in the Cotton Bowl selling out 90,000 seats. But maybe that’s just me.