Thursday, June 24, 2010

Public Opinion on Conference Realignment

Most Texans are glad that their state's major college athletic programs stayed in the Big 12 Conference. And they'd like to see a couple other home state schools added to fill the void left by the departure of Colorado to the PAC 10 and Nebraska to the Big 10.

44% of Texas voters are glad that Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech remained in the Big 12. Those who would have supported a move to another conference would have been much more in favor of heading to the SEC than the PAC 10. 15% would like those colleges to align with the schools in the Southeast while just 7% support going with the western schools. 32% of voters in the state don't have an opinion on what conference the schools should be in.

Support for remaining in the Big 12 is particularly strong among the partisans of the Longhorns, Aggies, and Red Raiders. 56% of Texas fans, 55% of Texas Tech fans, and 52% of Texas A&M fans favor the decision for their schools to stay right where they are.

Voters with an opinion on the matter strongly favor taking TCU as a new member of the Big 12 and support adding Houston as well, although by a lesser margin. 47% of voters in the state think TCU should join the conference with 15% opposed and 37% having no opinion. It's interesting to note that Baylor fans support letting TCU in by a 44/8 margin, even though reports have suggested the school's administration would like the Horned Frogs kept out. Fans of TCU itself support going to the Big 12 by a 58-2 margin, and partisans of the schools in the state currently in the Big 12 all support TCU's admission. Only Houston fans, perhaps worried a TCU bid would keep them out of the conference, oppose their moving up.

43% of voters think Houston should be added to the Big 12 with 22% opposed and 35% holding no opinion.

Public opinion doesn't play a huge role in conference realignments but whether it was part of their equation or not the administrations at Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech made the popular move by keeping their schools in the Big 12. And they'd curry more favor, at least within the state of Texas, by adding Houston and TCU and bringing the Big 12 more toward something resembling the old Southwestern Conference.

Full results here

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